Recipe: chocolate magic custard cake
There are a few things you learn about early season skiing after eleven seasons. The first is that you probably shouldn’t wax those skis just yet, because you’ll likely hit a few (or a lot) of rocks. If you were a good and proper ski fanatic, you waxed those babies at the end of last season so they wouldn’t dry out over the summer. You can wax them properly after a good base has been established. The second is that you haven’t actually forgotten how to ski after one summer. This weekend we took Neva out for her first ski tour. The very first one was more like a trial run because Jeremy was on skis and I hiked/jogged alongside the two of them just in case there were issues. It can be really difficult to manage a first timer dog while you are moving on skis. When Kaweah was a puppy, she kept attacking the ski tips (she didn’t realize they were connected to our feet) and standing on the skis when the snow was deep, and then running in front of us and sometimes stopping when we skied downhill. Even as an adult, Kaweah didn’t quite register the whole “keep clear of the metal edges” thing.
neva keeps pace with jeremy
having a blast
You probably already know that we are not the sorts who fly by the seat of our pants. We put a lot of thought into Neva’s first ski. We wanted to make sure she had fun, but we also had to guarantee that she would be safe. We took Neva up a forest service road so there would be plenty of room for her to maneuver about without getting tangled up in the skis on a narrow trail (or driving Jeremy into a tree). She absolutely had to be on a leash. That girl is always looking off into the woods and we know why. On the two occasions we have let her off leash, she bolted deep into the forest tracking the scent of every wild animal she could pick up, completely ignoring our calls.
Well, Neva was GREAT on her first tour. She avoided the skis, but kept pace like it was no big deal (this is one of the reasons we’ve been doing a lot of leash work with her on trails). She didn’t tangle up the leash much and was incredibly sweet and happy. The next morning, we went on a right proper ski tour with Erin, Banjo, and our fatter skis. The snow and the weather were amazing for early season. And while Neva did pull a little on the climb (she was VERY excited), she was really well-behaved. Neva had fun hanging with Banjo, who loaned her two of his spare booties when her back paws got balled with some ice. We wondered how she would do skiing out, because when we run, she sometimes gets excited and jumps up to bite our pants. Jeremy and I took turns skiing out with her and she was PERFECT! I posted a video of it on my Instagram. I think Neva is going to be a great little ski dog.
climbing up in the morning
skiing with dogs = best thing ever
The third thing that I apparently haven’t learned about early season skiing for two years in a row, is to remember to switch my skis to tour mode on the uphill climb. I felt I was struggling to keep up with Jeremy’s pace on the way up and chalked it up to being out of ski shape. But when we turned around to ski out, I bent over to lock my bindings into ski mode and noticed they were already there. Doh! I did this exact same thing on my first ski tour last year. It was funny, and I laughed. But my quads and butt were not in the mood for laughing. Still, it felt heavenly to be gliding on snow again. It was doubly so because our little pup seemed to enjoy it as much as we did.
Perhaps if more people discovered how amazing it is to ski in the backcountry, winter wouldn’t get such a bad rap. For the folks who hate winter, I think you’re doing it wrong. After a good and exhilarating workout, it’s nice to come home and reward yourself with some delicious calories. I usually opt for something savory, but Jeremy almost always makes a beeline for the latest sweet thing on the counter or in the refrigerator. This weekend, we had chocolate cake – but this was special chocolate cake. This was chocolate magic custard cake. I think it was all the rage a few years ago, but I was too distracted with Kaweah’s geriatric care to try it out. I bookmarked the recipe from Todd and Diane’s blog a while ago, and dug it up just last week.
cocoa, melted butter, flour, espresso, white vinegar, eggs, milk, confectioners sugar, vanilla extract
warm the milk and separate the eggs
whisk the flour and cocoa together
whip the egg whites to stiff peaks
Lately, I haven’t done much fancy baking thanks to Neva. But there are times when baking a cake in a single pan is quite satisfying – like when you are hungry and don’t have the time or patience to make a layered, filled, frosted, decorated cake. What intrigued me about this cake was the stratification during baking and that Diane said it wasn’t too sweet. Also? I am a total custard whore. Yes, me. Lactose intolerant. But I’ll suffer for a good custard! The recipe does use several bowls for the various components, which offsets the one-pan wonder aspect. Still, it’s worth making at least once – and if you like it, then it’s worth making again and again!
beat the yolks and confectioners sugar together
add the espresso, butter, and vanilla
mix in the flour-cocoa mixture
stir the warm milk into the batter
fold the egg whites in a third at a time
During the baking process, the egg whites appear to rise to the top of the batter and form a delicate spongy layer that is light and airy. The center layer is a soft custard and the bottom is a firmer, chewier version of the middle. The texture reminded me a little bit of chocolate mochi cake, although not as ridiculously chewy (as mochi tends to be). I overbaked my magic cake a smidge (on accident) and I also think I overfolded my egg whites because the top layer wasn’t as thick as I have seen on other versions. Even so, it was deliciously chocolaty and smooth. I was able to cut mine into shapes using cutters which made for very nice plating.
pour the batter into the baking pan
baked (maybe a couple of minutes too long)
cooled and sliced
I really like that this cake isn’t overly sweet. It’s just sweet enough and one serving is quite satisfying on its own. The cake is even better with some powdered sugar and fruity accompaniments. I’m pretty sure Jeremy has had it for dessert, breakfast, snack, and lunch. As far as I’m concerned, the words: chocolate, custard, and cake, cannot steer you wrong. But the extra bit of magic is what makes it so special.
top with confectioners sugar and set in a pool of raspberry sauce
Chocolate Magic Custard Cake
from White on Rice Couple
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder (I used Dutch-process cocoa powder)
4 eggs, separated
4 drops white vinegar
1 3/4 (210g) cups confectioners sugar
1 oz espresso or strong coffee
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly grease an 8×8-inch baking dish. Melt the butter and set aside to cool to room temperature. Warm the milk to lukewarm and set aside until ready to use. Whisk the flour and cocoa together in a separate bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the balloon whisk (or using electric beaters), beat the egg whites with the vinegar until they form stiff peaks. in another bowl, whisk the yolks and confectioners sugar together until light colored and thick. Beat the melted butter, espresso (or coffee), and vanilla extract into the egg yolk mixture for 2 minutes until mixed. Switch to a paddle attachment and mix the flour-cocoa mixture into the batter until incorporated. Gently whisk the milk into batter. Fold the egg whites in a third at a time, making sure they are blended without popping all of the bubbles. Pour the batter into the pan and bake 50-60 minutes until the center is just slightly jiggly (not like a waterbed jiggly, but just shy of being set). Remove from oven, let cool. You can invert the cake from the pan or cut the cake in the pan, but be sure to loosen the sides before turning the cake out. Serves 9.
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