I can't remember the first time I tasted the Brazilian chocolate cake from Deborah Madison's The Greens Cookbook, but I do remember who made it: my friend Michalene. (She's also the genius who asked the gobsmacking question about whether I'd tried the magic lacquered chicken technique with duck. Now I have! It is going to work! I am developing it! Stay tuned!) But the cake. It doesn't look like the photo above once it's finished; what's pictured is the bottom half of the cake after I iced it with ganache. It just looks so luscious, I couldn't resist. Wanted you to keep reading. Forgive me. This is what it looks like when it's finished:
I know, not as glam. I'm not much of a baker; yours will probably be more beautiful. Michalene's always is. Also it is not easy to photograph a bundt cake.
However – and this is a big however – I've made the Brazilian chocolate cake a jillion times, and every single time it has turned out great: moist, with a lovely, fine crumb, rich and magnificently chocolatey. Not too sweet.
It is, quite simply, the perfect chocolate cake. When you slice it, you can see a stripe of that fabulous glossy bittersweet ganache in the middle, exactly the right amount. It is the little black dress of chocolate cakes: simple, elegant, necessary. It may look a little austere, but oh, baby, it is anything but. A cup of strong coffee in the batter gives it depth and dimension.
Otherwise, there's nothing unusual about the recipe, which as far as I can tell is foolproof. When I last made it, a few days ago, I purposely fooled with the recipe. I used pastry flour instead of cake flour. I used room-temperature coffee instead of hot coffee. I used a 3.5 ounce bar of chocolate instead of the 3 ounces the cake part of the recipe calls for; same for the ganache. Both cake and ganache were perfect.
I wish I had a slice right now. Thierry, Wylie and I polished it off pretty quickly. It is not only dreamy as a dessert, it's amazing the next morning (and the one after that) for a decadent breakfast. Wylie was home for spring break when I made it. Though he has never been a big fan of cake, he loves this one.
And you will, too. Here's the recipe: