Audrey Hepburn’s Chocolate Cake

Update 7/9: Seized chocolate will indeed cause a dry cake. New texture is mousse-y, almost creamy, but not ganache creamy.

Today Haley and I had our quintessential meet-up, which consisted of the usual: Watching an Audrey Hepburn movie and baking something sweet! We decided, after deliberating, to try Audrey’s chocolate cake recipe, in honor of our our second friendiversary and in commemoration of our first official hangout. The hangout, you may have guessed, involved baking (cream puffs by Joy the Baker!) and and Audrey movie. Roman Holiday was my first Audrey film, and I haven’t looked back. So thanks, Haley! It’s always fun with you 🙂

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The recipe for this cake comes from Audrey at Home: Memories of My Mother’s Kitchen, written by her son, Luca Dotti. It’s equal parts memoir and recipe book, in which Dotti combines anecdotes from his mother’s life with a beloved dish that held significant memories of the time. This cake in particular evoked memories of the liberation of Holland after WWII. According to Dotti, chocolate was one of the first things his mother ate after a long period of starvation. Chocolate and condensed milk brought by the brand-new United Nations.

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Just some notes before you start-

You absolutely must combine the cream and chocolate together before melting the chocolate. Otherwise, the chocolate will seize, and the chocolate will become grainy. To simplify the processes, I would heat the cream and then pour it over the chocolate to melt it. It’s easier than melting everything over a bain-marie or double-boiler.

There may or may not have been too much meringue in the recipe. I will be revisiting this with new results. Egg whites give structure to baked goods, and the cake came out a bit dry as opposed to creamy, so I suspect that, if the seized chocolate was not the problem, then the egg whites were.

Finally, you can serve this cake with whipped cream or ice cream. Really, you could serve it with whatever you fancy. I went with a simple Philadelphia-style vanilla ice cream: Cream, milk, sugar, and vanilla. If your torte come out dry like mine, the topping will add a little moisture and cut the intensity of the chocolate.

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Audrey Hepburn’s Chocolate Cake

(From Audrey at Home: Memories of My Mother’s Kitchen by Luca Dotti)

Cake

11 ounces (300g) unsweetened dark chocolate, chopped

0.25 cup whole milk (I substituted cream)

1 stick/0.5 cup (120g) unsalted butter

8 eggs, separated

1 cup (200g) sugar

3 tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon powdered sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 400˚F.
  2. Heat cream until just below a simmer. Place chocolate in a bowl. Pour cream over and let sit for 3 minutes. Gently whisk to create a ganache. Add butter and whisk until combined. Whisk in egg yolks.
  3. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add all the sugar and beat on medium-high speed until still and glossy.
  4. Place 1 cup of the beaten egg whites (meringue) into the chocolate mixture and use a spatula to fold gently. This will lighten the batter. Continue adding in 1-cup increments until all the egg whites are combined.
  5. Buter and flour a 10- or 12- (25- or 28- cm) inch pan (I used a springform pan). Pour batter into pan and bake for 30 minutes.
  6. Turn off oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Then remove from pan and cool for 10 minutes. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

Ice Cream

This ice cream is very soft and melts quickly. Eat immediately after serving.

1.5 cups cream

1.5 cups whole milk or half-and-half

1 cup (200g) sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon kosher salt

  1. Freeze your ice cream bowl overnight.
  2. Heat cream and milk/half-and-half until just warm. Whisk in sugar and salt to dissolve.
  3. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Pour into ice cream bowl and churn for 30 minutes. Transfer to container and freeze for at least 1 hour. Serve.

 

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