I feel like a bear. I've been hibernating. My friends and family probably wonder where I've been because I've been so silent. The truth is, I feel like hiding from the world. Every time I look at the news it's frightening. My stomach churns when I glance at the headlines in the newspaper. Even the comics page has references to the decimation of our kids' college savings and our retirement fund. Where to go to in stressful times like these?
There is always the old reliable - chocolate. Times like these call for more than just a Snickers bar, though. They call for chocolate with chocolate on top. Deep, rich, luscious chocolate that wraps you in comfort and soothes you, saying, "It's going to be all right" with each delicious bite.
If you're stressing out, might I recommend this cake to you? It doesn't mess around with distracting flavors or fluffy fillings. You get a serious hit of chocolate in each and every forkful. And if you want to wash it down with a tall glass of chocolate milk, I won't tell. Just pass me the carton when you're done with it.
Chocolate Prescription Cake
adapted from Williams-Sonoma Desserts
2-1/3 cups (220 g) all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1 cup (90 g) unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup (185 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups (500 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1-1/2 cups (375 ml) buttermilk, at room temperature
For the frosting:
12 oz (375 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1-3/4 cups (430 ml) heavy cream
1/2 cup (125 g) sour cream
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1- Preheat the oven to 350 deg. F (180 deg. C). Lightly grease theo bottoms of two 9 x 2-inch round cake pans and line with parchment paper. Grease the paper and the sides of the pan and dust with flour.
2- Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl.
3- In another large bowl, using a mixer on medium speed, beat the butter until smooth. Gradually add the brown sugar and continue beating until fluffy. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour mixture in 3 batches alternating with the buttermilk in 2 batches, mixing on low speed after each addition.
4-Divide the batter between the two prepared pans and spread it out evenly. Tap the pans gently on the counter to get rid of any air pockets. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool on a rack for 15 minutes, then invert onto the rack, lift off the pan, and carefully peel off the parchment paper. Cool completely before frosting.
5- To make the frosting combine the chocolate and heavy cream in a heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water until the chocolate melts, then remove from the heat and whisk until well blended. Let cool slightly. Add the sour cream and salt and stir just until blended. Set aside, stirring occasionally, until room temperature. Whisk in the powdered sugar, stirring until the frosting is thick enough to spread.
6- Place about 1/3 of the frosting on the bottom layer, place the other layer, top side down on the first layer. Spread a thin layer of frosting over the entire cake to seal in any crumbs, then thickly coat the cake with the remaining frosting. Serve at once or keep covered at room temperature until ready to serve.