Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Flashback to High School: (Almost) Flourless Chocolate Cake

Rain thwarted our plans for a mountain bike ride last night after work. The rain is whole heartedly welcome, but why does it always seem to happen in my free time when I want to be outside?

Stuck inside the house, I decided to make cake instead.

I made Molly Wizenberg's wedding cake. It's not the prettiest cake, but it's simple and fun to make. I especially love anything that allows me to break out the double boiler. Ours is an old Revere Ware copper-bottom stainless steel number. Andrew picked it up at the Rotary auction on Bainbridge Island before he moved to Albuquerque. When I met him, he didn't know what the metal bowl that fits inside the pot was for (other than getting in the way of his mac and cheese makin'). I snatched that puppy right up and it lived at my house until we moved in together a couple of years later. Now it's his favorite mac and cheese making pot and my favorite dessert making pot.

I made two identical cakes last night. The first is beautiful with crackly edges and a shiny top. The second cake isn't so pretty, and when I flipped it over to remove it from the pan, part of the bottom stuck to the parchment paper. Fearing that the ugly cake would also taste subpar, I took a little bite from the bits stuck to the pan. There was no need to worry. The cake, of course, tasted amazing (I mean it's hard to go too wrong with chocolate and butter). I took a bite and then wrapped the cake up, and as I was getting ready for bed, my mind was flooded with memories of high school.

My oldest friend Rosie's dad occasionally sent her to school with flourless chocolate torte to share with us at lunch. This was by far the fanciest thing I had ever eaten at that age. I didn't have much of a taste for dark chocolate back then, but it was clear to me that the torte was something to be savored and appreciated. It was rich and slightly bitter. I could only eat a sliver of it, but I knew that if I played my cards right, someday I would be able to eat a whole piece of dark chocolate cake. The day has arrived, folks (many years ago, in fact).

I haven't thought about the flourless chocolate torte in years. I've made (and eaten) this cake before without thinking of it so I don't know why the memory hit me right then. The taste memory of it flooded back last night the way a scent in the air or a song on the radio can bring you back to a specific place or moment. I could see us sitting in the high school cafeteria passing around the torte with all of our girlfriends. I could see Rosie's dad's smiling face. I could see us making a bid deal out of the flourless part - I had never made a cake at the time that hadn't come from a box mix so I didn't even know that some cakes did or didn't have flour. At the time, the flourless part of the cake seemed pretty obscure and interesting to me.

This cake isn't flourless - there's one tablespoon - but the flavor sure brings back the memories.

Molly Wizenberg also calls this the "winning hearts and minds cake," and I can attest that it definitely won some hearts and minds today. It seems to have been a hit at both offices. When Andrew got back to his desk after a morning meeting, he found an empty cake plate and this note on his desk.

In case you can't see the note, it says, "Thank you Andrew and please thank your talented wife," from his division members. And that was regarding the ugly cake!

The recipe is online here.


  1. Yum that cake looks good. haha looks like the coworkers cleaned up that cake.

  2. I bet it feels good knowing everyone enjoyed your cake! Looks yummy to me! I don't think I've ever had flourless cake.

    1. yes, it does feel good! it's always so fun to cook for receptive audiences

  3. Food and memory go hand in hand! Or maybe mind and fork LoL!! That cake was awesome!!! That is a perfect note for you!!!! You are full of talent beyond the sun my friend!!


Hey, thank you!

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