It's the most wonderful time of the year: Andy Tauer's Advent Calendar giveaway. This holiday season the prize is even more special, since the winner of today's giveaway will get to first chose a 5 piece sample set from Andy's two lines: Tauer Perfumes and Tableau de Parfums (any five he or she wants to try) and then select a FULL BOTTLE of his or her choice. The samples and the bottle will be sent directly from the perfumer's studio in Switzerland, and the draw is open to everyone worldwide. All you need to do is leave a comment telling us what's your favorite chocolate cake or treat.
My gift to you is one of my favorite cake recipes that once again comes from my mom, Nina. It's a delicate and fragrant chocolate and poppy seed torte. Now, poppy seeds are not the most common ingredient in North America. If we see them at the supermarket it's in those little McCormick bottles made for sprinkling on bagels or something. Don't buy that, please (I can hear my friends and readers in Eastern Europe howling with laughter as we speak) . To make this cake you'll need to buy the seeds in bulk from a spice market or a natural food store (or even order online). Make sure to buy whole seeds and grind them yourself in a spice grinder/coffee grinder. It takes less than five minutes to process the whole 7 oz in a couple of batches and ensures your seeds are not rancid (ground poppy seeds go stale incredibly fast). Whole poppy seeds keep nearly indefinitely in the freezer, so you can buy more and keep frozen (that's what I do).
Nina and Gaia's Chocolate and Poppy Seed Torte
7 oz (200 gr) freshly ground poppy seeds
5.5 oz (150 gr) dark chocolate
1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter (200 gr)
3 tbs brandy/cognac or any favorite liquor (even a sweet red wine will do)
1 1/4 cup sugar (I tend to reduce it to 1 cup, but it's a matter of taste)
3 tbs fine breadcrumbs
6 eggs in room temperature
Heat oven to 325 degrees (F). Grease and flour a round 10" baking pan (I've used various pans, round and square, as well as played with depths. The only thing that changes is baking time and your need to babysit it).
1. Separate the yolks from the whites. Beat the whites with the sugar until nicely stiff.
2. Melt chocolate and butter (I use the microwave, my mom doesn't), add brandy, poppy seeds, breadcrumbs and egg yolks, mix well, then add the beaten whites.
3. Pour into your prepped pan and bake at 325F for about an hour (a bit less if using a square pan). The cake is delicate and should remain rather moist.
Optional: glaze with melted chocolate (I rarely bother).
Let me know if and when you make this cake and don't forget to leave a comment telling us about your favorite chocolate cake.
Images from artdecoblog.tumblr.com and pastrysampler.com.