Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Buckwheat Chocolate Cake

It is birthday season in our household. For her birthday party, my daughter considered offering her favorite meal of homemade pasta with pesto and rhubarb buckle, but was worried that not all of her friends would like this menu, so she decided instead on pizza and chocolate cake. Her thoughtfulness in this matter is exemplary of her gentle and generous nature, nascent nine years ago in her deep brown newborn eyes and more apparent with each passing year.

She is not a fan of flamboyant cakes and cloying icing. Instead she favors subtle, fresh flavors and (a girl after my own heart) bittersweet chocolate. Searching for a suitable birthday cake, this buckwheat chocolate one from Beatrice Peltre caught my eye, especially since we still have a sizable stash of buckwheat flour from our Lonesome Whistle Farm CSA. 

This is almost a flourless chocolate cake (and an entirely gluten-free one). The small amount of almond meal adds a rich texture and the buckwheat gives a hint of sourness that complements the bittersweet notes of the chocolate.

A decorative dusting of powdered sugar and a scoop of vanilla ice cream elevated this subtle cake into party fare suitable for celebrating a truly sweet daughter.

Buckwheat Chocolate Cake
adapted from Smitten Kitchen

7 Tbsp unsalted butter, plus extra for buttering pan
4 ounces bittersweet dark chocolate
4 large eggs at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
A good pinch of sea salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
scant 1/4 cup slivered almonds
Confectioners’ sugar to serve (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch cake pan and line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper. Melt the butter and chocolate together in in short bursts in the microwave, stirring frequently. Set aside.

2. Prepare the almond meal by pulsing together the slivered almonds and buckwheat flour in a food processor until finely ground.

3. In the bowl of a stand mix or with a handheld mixer, beat the eggs and sugar with salt until light and pale and doubled in volume. Deb Perelman advises that one spend 5 to even 9 minutes on this to develop the cake's crumb, but with my little handheld mixer I didn't have quite the stamina for this and the cake still turned out nicely.

4. Gently fold in the vanilla and melted chocolate mixture. Sprinkle the buckwheat and almond mixture over the batter and fold gently to combine. Pour into prepared pan and bake for about 25 minutes until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out dry.

5. Let cool for five minutes on a rack then invert onto the rack, remove the parchment paper, and return upright on a serving plate. Serve in wedges, dusted with powdered sugar.

UPDATE: I made a Pacific Northwest version of this cake with ground hazelnuts instead of almonds and it was delicious.

1 comment:

Elly said...

What a perfect birthday cake. I bet C loved it!