Thursday, February 25, 2010

A chocolate cake any idiot could make

Chocolate Idiot Cake (yes, that’s really the name) is another David Lebovitz recipe that I decided to take for a spin. Given my unlucky streak with cake recipes, the name alone was enticing. He devised the recipe when he was consulting for restaurants that were hurting due to underpaid, untrained staff. The idea was a simplistic, no brainer, sure-to-please chocolate cake recipe that, well, any idiot could make.

We were having friends over for a Valentine’s dinner and I decided to make chocolate cake since chocolate is a traditional favorite for the holiday. I had been thinking about doing a little research for a good recipe when I saw a link that David posted on FaceBook regarding an argument he and Michael Ruhlman had about whether crème anglaise should be made with milk versus heavy cream. It piqued my interest so I clicked on the link to Michael Ruhlman’s website and saw his pics of chocolate cake with a simple crème anglaise sauce. Michael's post included a link to David’s site and his recipe for said idiot cake. Voilá! Perfect dessert for V’Day.  The pics and the “so easy an idiot could make it” promise sold me.

Well, when I made the cake it didn’t turn out exactly “idiot free”. I’m not posting  pictures of the whole, uncut cake since I overfilled the cake pan a bit causing it to rise against the tinfoil cover. The top of the cake was a little funky looking in places so I just cut up slices from the prettier parts of the cake and plated it with the crème anglaise. The cake is deliciously moist and decadently chocolatey. Check out how dense it is from the side view below. 
I used one-half milk and one-half heavy cream to approximate the richer, creamer texture of non-homogenized milk that David recommends for his crème anglaise recipe. I can’t find non-homogenized milk at Central Market now that a local dairy, Remember When, stopped deliveries. I’ve heard they went out of business due to a dispute between the partners- such a shame. I’m working on a new source, though. Vanessa, my fellow LCB classmate who also lives in Austin, found a gentleman through the Sunset Valley Farmers Market who will deliver non-homogenized milk and cream to your door. He transports his dairy products in his BMW's cooler-laden trunk. My, how farmers have changed... I have an uncle whose family has farmed in South Alabama for generations and he wouldn’t be caught dead in any vehicle other than a Chevy pick-up or a tractor!


  1. Yay - because I'm a cake idiot... but can it really be as easy as the flourless cake I make that no one can possibly screw up? I'll have to check it out...

  2. This one is pretty easy but just don't overfill the pan our you'll have funny looking but delicious cake. I didn't think it would rise as much as it did...