Keeping My Eyes Open!

If the weather elves who inhabit my phone are correct, it will not quite freeze tonight.

That works for me. (Even Luther will be happy with the balmy 36 degrees. No ice on the back steps!)

Not being a Newfoundland, I’m looking forward to growth.

The mail is filled with seed catalogs, one of which was considerately printed on non-shiny, collage appropriate paper and is, appropriately, headed for Sunday’s painting workshop which is all about growth.

Aided, I trust, by the raft of new liner brushes pictured above. (Did they really have to put sticky labels on the handles of all 12 of them???)

A dear friend dropped by for a visit today with newborn herbs, a gift from her husband, the seed guy. Time to rearrange lamps a bit… it’s too cold for outside. Parsley and basil, here we come!

And then there’s the which one is not like the others item in the photo.

Raw cacao powder, headed for Friday’s baking project. A flourless chocolate cake for Sunday’s paint sisters. (Yes, there’s still time for a couple more of you to sign up!)

Though, compared to big brand cake in a box, which half my family couldn’t eat, I guess it is growth!

Here’s the way Kenzie and I did it for Christmas dinner, with considerable inspiration from Ina Garten, Alton Brown, some wise things I’ve learned along the way, and a couple of web site versions.

Chocolate Cake (Almost) All Of Us Can Love

Figure about 45 minutes for actual kitchen bonding and another couple of hours for the fridge to do its thing.

Ingredients for the cake:

  • 1 c. dark chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate. (In our case, Green & Black’s organic 85% dark.)
  • 1/2 c. unsalted butter, preferably organic. Save wrapper!
  • 3/4 c. granulated sugar. (Nobody’s perfect!)
  • 1/4 tsp. finely ground sea salt.
  • 1 tsp. real vanilla extract.
  • 3 large room temp. eggs (preferably pasture raised) slightly beaten.
  • 1/2 c. raw cacao powder or Dutch process cocoa powder. (We did 1/4 c. of each).
  • 1 good pinch espresso powder for baking or INSTANT espresso powder.

Ingredients for chocolate ganache topping:

  • 1 c. dark chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate. (The same type as above. Three 3.17 oz bars = the 2 c. total.)
  • 1/2 c. heavy cream, preferably organic.

Optional ingredients for garnishing *

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. 

Using the wrapper from the butter, grease an 8″ round cake pan (We used stainless steel.) Cut a circle of unbleached parchment paper to fit and place it on the bottom of the pan. (This is an excellent job for a young helper!) Grease the parchment paper with the rest of the butter on the wrapper.

Place the chopped chocolate and butter over low to medium-low heat in a heavy sauce pan. Heat, stirring frequently, until the butter and chocolate are melted and well combined. (If you have a microwave, rumor has it that will work, too.) Remove from heat. 

Add sugar, salt, and vanilla extract, stirring to combine well.

Add the beaten eggs slowly, stirring well. (Kenzie is an excellent stir-er!)

Add the cacao/cocoa powder and espresso powder and mix just until combined.

Pour batter into prepared cake pan, keeping the sauce pan for later, unless you just love doing dishes! Bang bottom of cake pan on countertop to release air bubbles. Bake in center of oven for about 25 minutes, until the cake has a thin crust on top and a toothpick comes out not quite clean.

Cool cake on wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a table knife around the edges of the cake to loosen. Cover pan with a serving plate and flip so that the cake magically appears on the plate with the former bottom up. (This is, perhaps, not the best job for a young helper!) Discard parchment paper. Allow cake to cool completely, while making the ganache.

Combine 2nd batch of chopped chocolate and heavy cream in your sauce pan. Stir, over low to medium-low heat until all is melted, smooth, and shiny. (Or use microwave.)

Spread the miraculous ganache evenly over the cooled cake. Let it set up a couple hours or more before serving. The refrigerator works great and keeps the big dogs from very dangerous snacking!!!

*Slice cake into thin wedges (It’s rich!) and garnish with a dash of powdered sugar and fresh raspberries or strawberries if desired. Whipped cream or coffee ice cream would not be amiss.

This was REALLY good. And it keeps well in the fridge. Am experimenting with mini muffin tins for Sunday. I’ll keep you posted.

And do keep your eyes open with me. Noticing signs of growth seems like a pretty good practice just now!


Sue Boardman, Certified Intentional Creativity®
Color of Woman Teacher & Coach

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