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This Hungarian chocolate cake is an uncomplicated one and the likelihood of success in turning out a fine, dense, chocolate cake of the European variety is very high … even for the novice baker or those whose cooking talents don’t run chiefly to baking.
A timing note: The cake may be made a day in advance, cooled completely, wrapped and refrigerated overnight. Bring it to room temperature the next day. Decorate it with the powdered sugar and cocoa shortly before serving. Csudafinom csokitorta will keep well (refrigerated) and continue to be moist and delicious for a week after it is baked.
You will also need:
1. A springform cake pan with a 9 and 1/2-inch (24-centimeter) base.
2. Parchment paper.
3. A double boiler or homemade bain marie made with a pot partially filled with water and a bowl that fits snugly into the rim of it.
4. A mixer: a hand mixer is very convenient since mixing the cake requires two mixing bowls.
5. 2 mixing bowls: one of them may be the bowls of a standing mixer.
6. A cooling rack.
7. For decorating the cake: a small sieve and scissors and paper if you wish to draw and cut out a stencil and stencil something pretty on top of the cake. (See the photos in the related link.)
For the cake:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter the cake pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper. Set pan aside.
2. Melt the chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler or the top bowl of a homemade bain marie. Once melted remove the bowl from the heat and set the melted mixture to the side.
3. Separate the egg whites and yolks. Set the whites aside in one bowl. Put the yolks in a large bowl. Beat the yolks a little. Add the sugar and mix until the eggs and sugar thicken and turn a pale, faintly lemony, color.
4. Mix in the melted chocolate and butter. Then mix in the flour. Then mix in the ground almonds. And finally, mix in the vanilla extract and almond extract. Set aside.
5. Use a mixer and beat the egg whites to form stiff (but not dry) peaks. (The whites should not slide up the side of a tilted bowl.) Fold the egg whites into the chocolate batter.
6. Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake it for 50 minutes. Remove pan from the oven. Cool the cake in the pan set on a rack. As the cake cools, the top will crack. This is the nature of the cake. The ‘crackled’ surface has its own special texture and is powdered over with sugar and cocoa after the cake cools so that it will look pretty.
7. Once the cake has cooled completely, remove the rim of the springform pan. Leave the cake on the bottom of the pan or shift it off the pan bottom onto the rack. Peel away the parchment paper by carefully lifting the cake a little, first on one side, then on another, detaching and pulling away the parchment from underneath it. The cake is dense enough to lift gently but do not turn the cake upside down on the rack.
For decorating the cake: Photo illustrations are on the related link. Sift powdered sugar and then some cocoa over the top of the cake or make a simple stencil by tracing the form of the cake pan on a piece of paper, drawing a simple design in the middle and cutting it out with a pair of sharp scissors. Sift powdered sugar over the cake. Then, place the stencil over the top of the cake and sift cocoa powder over the cut-out portions, creating a pretty two-tone design.
Serving suggestion: Some heavy cream, lightly whipped and sweetened, goes very well with this cake.
An acknowledgement: Cusdafinom csokitorta is adapted from a recipe in the Hungarian cooking journal “Konyha Magazin” (September 2000).
Nancy is the Coupon Clipping Cook, which means she not only has an astounding number of recipes to share with us (her TK recipe box is busting at the seams!) but she's also got loads of money-saving tips in her blog (she worked at a grocery store for a number of years, so she knows her stuff). She has some pretty amazing creations, like Roasted Garlic Potato Soup and Nutty Coconut Chicken. Go check them out!
Heather is a Texas native and the blogger behind Heather's Dish. She's mom to Weston, wife to Nate, and they live in Little Rock, Arkansas with their two "stubborn and saucy" dogs Bunker and Keira. In her blog, she shares her photographs, random musings (serious and silly alike), and all kinds of scrumptious recipes---and not just evil variations of her favorite mac and cheese. Her enviable TK recipe box is a testament to that. Go see for yourself!