I should have been writing. Instead…Stovetop Chocolate Cake.

 

File_001Yes, stovetop. A challenge worth pursuing.

This recipe came from Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street website.

And I have to say, as with Cook’s Country/America’s Test Kitchen [C. Kimball’s most recent endeavor], the accompanying video segments were extremely helpful.

***

As the cake steams–yep, steams– toward completion, some questions and notions:

  • This will be my default ‘baking’ method during the heat of summer. 
  • A while back, I mentioned my tendency to do weird, lame stuff in the kitchen, such as mixing or chopping at the very edge of the counter. Wull-gee, what are the odds something’s going to end up on the floor? I do eventually learn from repeated bungling, however. So this time, the floor was spared the usual cascade of ingredients. Bravo.
  • Buuuut, did that keep me from having my laptop hanging precariously over counter’s edge as I began typing this post? Uhhh, no. Seems like once I hit my threshold of competency, all bets are off. Hide the knives, check the burners, and pray. [Doesn’t matter which god you choose, by the way. They all understand kitchen hazards. And at some point in the process, I become the poster child.]
  • I should have hired a first-grader to cut my circle of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan.
  • With this stovetop strategy, will we still be treated to the warm, enveloping aroma of a baked chocolate cake? Answer: No.
  • I’m not supposed to lift that lid till the prescribed 23 minutes has lapsed. I actually resisted. Decision: It needed an extra five to seven minutes. On the upside, unless the water has evaporated, the risk of burning the cake is minimal. In other words, steam bath: forgiving…oven heat: cruel and merciless.
  • When it comes to chocolate desserts, our mantra: Dark = better. Darker = more better.
  • Always remember: Eating cake by the hunk enhances flavor by 23%. [Margin of error: +/- 5%]
  • My wife rolls her eyes at my Philistine ways, bBut I say, ‘If I bake it, I break it.’ And it’s oh-so-good that way. Besides, she gets to even out the ragged edges.

Final verdict: This recipe is a keeper. The cake came out dark and dense and moist. What more could you want?

 

File_000(1)

The steaming takes place inside a Dutch oven–actually any pot with a tight-fitting lid and deep/wide enough to fit an eight or nine-inch cake pan. The coil of aluminum foil simply keeps the cake above the heated water.

File_000

The chocolate shmeer on the plate is a sure sign of this cake’s moistness. [The added chocolate chunks don’t hurt either.]

Added notes: Apologies to Bitter Ben, whose blog I follow. Rather than bittersweet, I used semi-sweet chocolate chunks from Trader Joe’s.

And to faithful reader Virginia [Roses in the Rubble], try this recipe. It should be a fair payback for the recipes you’ve shared with me.

 

Writers Horoscope for October 16: Today, endure the fickleness of your livelihood.

Livelihood? How about ‘annoying hobby’?

gratisography frustration writer post-it notes

Either way, it was 3:00 AM** and you tossed and turned and tossed again.

Your spouse stumbled out to the peace and quiet of the living room couch.
The border collie followed soon after.

And you were left to brood.

Shouldn’t the plural of ‘low-life’ be ‘low-lives’?

And Snow White’s annoying posse–shouldn’t they be the Seven Dwarves?

Let the brooding continue…and here you had just come to terms with your own flawfulness.


 

image courtesy of gratisography.comgratisography.com

**Why is it always 3:00 AM?

Writers Horoscope for October 13: Today, ponder ‘sonder’.

Yes, the word is ‘sonder’.

From the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows:    n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own. To help you visualize, short video here.

girl with rose crown

Let it feed today’s writing.

**

Note: Thanks to Seth Godin for introducing the Writers Horoscope to this concept.

 

Writers Horoscope for October 12: Today, new frontiers await.

Columbus isn’t the only one to be honored today.

Give a nod to yourself.

But only after you try your hand at say, a how-to article on unexpected uses of hair conditioner [yes, there are], or Astrology and the Home Cook [You’re on your own with that one.] or an impromptu photo story,

 

Happy Thanksgiving to Canadians, by the way.