How about some chocolate cake? The most important thing to know about chocolate cakes, in my opinion, is that chocolate cake is more chocolate-y when made with water instead of milk. Huh? Makes sense, really. Semi sweet and bittersweet chocolate are way more chocolate-y than milk chocolate. The dairy tends to mellow out the characteristic bitter chocolate edge. Now, if you like the bitter edge, you can use water in your chocolate cake. If you don’t like it so much, use milk instead.
The next most important thing about chocolate cake is that it should be a brownie. No milk to get in the way of deep, dark chocolate joy. I love brownies deep, dark and gooey, but you can use the same recipe to make them more cake-y. So, want to wow folks with a deep, dark chocolate cake? Make brownies. Agree? Disagree? Have at it in the comments!
At any rate, the third most important thing about a chocolate cake is that if the recipe calls for 1/8 teaspoon of salt, it’s not enough. Salt wakes up chocolate, so don’t be stingy. Must I beat you with my treatise on the use of salt yet again?!
The fourth most important thing about chocolate ca….um, brownies is that they should not have nuts. Put them in if you wish, I cannot stop you. Not me, but if you must put in nuts, at least toast them, first.
Now–let’s get on with it. How to make the perfect chocolate brake (crownie?)
- 5 oz. all purpose flour
- 3/4 t. kosher salt (or 1/2 t. table salt)
- 3/4 t. baking powder
- 6 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted in microwave on medium (stir often)
- 6 oz. melted butter
- 10 oz. sugar
- 6 oz. brown sugar (about 1 cup, packed–but please use a scale)
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon bourbon
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
For a fudgy brake:
Do all of this by hand. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk well. In another bowl, whisk together the butter and chocolate. Whisk in eggs, one at a time, until just combined. Then, whisk in bourbon and vanilla. Pour into bowl with the dry ingredients and fold together until well combined. Pour in a parchment lined 9″ square (or 9″ X 13″ for a thinner brake). Bake at 325 degrees F, until they are as done as you like them–check the square pan at 40 minutes and the 9″ X 13″ pan at about 30 minutes. Cool in the pan for half an hour. Carefully turn the brake out and let it finish cooling on a rack. Wrap well in plastic wrap and refrigerate. This makes slicing easier.
For a cakey brake (for some reason, I am thinking of Billy Ray Cyrus):
Use the creaming method. Don’t use melted butter. Whisk dry ingredients together and set aside. Cream the salt, butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Cream in the melted and cooled chocolate, bourbon and vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing just to combine. Last, add the dry ingredients, mixing just to combine. Bake the same way as for fudgy brakes.
They don’t need icing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t ice them with whatever you want. I won’t stop you. A nice way to serve them would warm, cut into wedges with some powdered sugar sifted over and some lightly sweetened soft-whipped cream. Enjoy:)