One of the things that I greatly miss during these times is our visits to Belgium, in particular our Saturday-day-trips to the more than charming City of Antwerp (Antwerp lies in the Dutch/Flemish-speaking part of Belgium, the city plays the role of unofficial capital of Flanders). But you know what they say - if you can’t travel there, make a treat from there, a kind of soulfood, a feel good moment during the Advent season.
When I feel a yearning for the distinct taste of Belgian chocolate or a slice of Belgian chocolate cake with my afternoon cup of tea, I dig into my secret hoard of Belgian chocolate. I take one hundred and fifty grams from my carefully stacked piles, take a smell at the dark bittersweet baking chocolate and bake a slightly fudgy Chocoladetaart, a Belgian Chocolate Cake with only six ingredients. This is what I call a simple recipe, yet I find it very pleasing, it seems to fit my current state of mind so well - less is indeed more.
A fudgy center is expected and desired with this recipe. No need to pull out your hand-held mixer either, do it by hand, all you need is two bowls, a whisk and a cake pan that measures about 23cm (9in). And this recipe, of course.
Chocoladetaart – Belgian Chocolate Cake
- 200g unsalted butter, plus some for greasing the baking pan, cut into chunks
- 150g bittersweet chocolate (with a cacao range of 70%), OR semisweet chocolate (which has a cacao content of around 60% and can be used interchangeably with bittersweet chocolate), preferably Belgian baking chocolate bars, roughly chopped into smaller pieces for melting
- 225g superfine baking (caster) sugar (feinster Backzucker)
- ¼ tsp fine sea salt
- 4 eggs (L), free range or organic, room temperature
- 100g plain (AP) four
- unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Belgian - for dusting the cooled cake (optional)
- powdered sugar - for dusting the cooled cake (optional)
- springform baking pan (23cm/9in)
- baking parchment
- Pre-heat your oven to 165°C (325°F).
- Melt the butter, add the chopped chocolate and stir. Let stand for about 2 minutes to melt.
- Line a 23cm diameter round springform pan with baking parchment, butter and flour. Knock out excess flour.
- Then to the butter mixture add the sugar and whisk. Then whisk in the salt, then the eggs, one at a time. And last, stir in the flour.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared cake pan.
- Bake for 15 minutes, cover loosely with baking parchment. Continue to bake for another 30 minutes (45 minutes total) or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with fudgy crumbs.
- Transfer to a cooling rack and let the cake cool for about 15 minutes, remove the outer ring of the springform pan, then cool completely and remove the bottom of the cake pan.
- Dust with dark cocoa powder and/or a bit of powdered sugar (I like the look that it lends to this simple cake) and serve with softly whipped cream and homemade caramel sauce (I rather like the a Salted Caramel Sauce), or fresh berries or seasonal fruit, or just plain - that way you will really taste the wonderful chocolate.
If you are interested in more pics and history from the City of Antwerp, take a look at:
- A Visit to Antwerp (Belgium) - Part I (HERE)
- A Visit to Antwerp (Belgium) - Part II - Market Day (HERE)
- A Visit to Antwerp (Belgium) - Part III - Antwerpse Handjes & Philip´s Biscuits (HERE)
Looking for pics and a typical recipe from the City of Bruges, you can take a look at:
If you are interested in another recipe for a Belgian-inspired cake, take a look at:
August Baking: Belgian Salted Butter Pound Cake - Backen im August: Belgischer Salzbutter Kuchen (HERE)
And for Gentse Waterzooi & Geraardsbergse Mattentaart recipes (Belgian Stew and Puff Pastry tarts), have a look HERE - one of these dishes was much beloved by the wonderful Julia Child.