I grew up in a household that always had cake. Some homes have unlimited supplies of chocolate, or parle G biscuits or vanilla drops, but in our home, we are never cake-less. Mostly they are light tea-cakes. Sometimes lemon flavored, sometimes with cinnamon and sugar sprinkled on top, but mostly plain. If there are children around, then you might find a chocolate cake sitting in the pantry for the kids to nibble at in between their play.
I've always preferred savory treats to sweet ones and if my younger self had her way, we'd be that household that had french fries everyday. But it appears it's my fate in life to live in homes with a never ending supply of cake. Here in Delhi, not too long after I moved in with my cousin, she decided to attend baking classes, and now there is at least one cake sitting at the table everyday, demanding attention.
Even though cake doesn't make my heart skip a beat like it does for some people, every now and then I will come across a recipe that catches my fancy and then I get very excited and dream of it for days.
And that is how I came across Molly Wizenberg's 'Winning Hearts and Minds Cake'. What caught my eye (besides its catchy name) was that it looked ridiculously easy- five ingredients in a bowl, stir, pour into a cake pan and bake. It also has an eyebrow-raising amount of chocolate, which is always a good sign, if you ask me.
This cake isn't for the faint of heart. It doesn't dilly-dally with small talk; in other words, it isn't a cake that tastes mildly of chocolate, it is made of chocolate. It is chocolate reincarnated- melted and whisked into silky batter with a few eggs, and voila- forkfuls of gooey perfection. I must warn you though, it won't win any prizes for elegance- it's all crinkly and portly- but you'll take a bite of it and you won't care.
Mummy is here in Delhi visiting me, and today, for a change, I am the one baking a cake because it's her birthday. She doesn't know I've written this post for her (hi mum! surprise!). Wizenberg puts it best when she says 'underneath everything else, all the plans and goals and hopes, that's why we get up in the morning, why we believe, why we try, why we bake chocolate cakes. That's the best we can ever hope to do: to win hearts and minds, to love and be loved'.
Nobody is loved as much as you are, mummy. And not just because you make a ridiculously good chocolate cake. Happy birthday.
The Winning Hearts and Minds Cake
200 g semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
200 g unsalted butter, cut into chunks
5 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius.
Butter a 9-inch circular baking pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Butter the parchment paper as well.
In a medium-sized microwavable bowl, melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave in short spurts of about 20-seconds, stirring in between, until fully melted.
Add the sugar to the chocolate and stir till fully incorporated.
Let cool and then add the eggs one by one, stirring well in between each egg.
Add the flour and stir.
Pour into the baking pan and bake for 25 minutes, or until the sides of the cake pull in, and the center of the cake quivers only a little.
Take it out and let cool for 20 minutes.
Transfer to a platter.
Note: Don't be alarmed that the cake has a gooey center- it's meant to be that way. If you want it firmer, follow Wizenberg's suggestion and freeze the cake for a day, and then bring it to room temperature before serving.