"That long-drawn, wavering howl has, for all its fearful resonance, some inherent sadness in it, as if the beasts would love to be less beastly if only they knew how and never cease to mourn their own condition. There is a vast melancholy in the canticles of the wolves, melancholy infinite as the forest, endless as these long nights of Winter and yet that ghastly sadness, that mourning for their own, irremediable appetites, can never move the heart for not one phrase in it hints at the possibility of redemption; grace could not come to the world from its own despair, only though some external mediator, so that sometimes, the beast will look as if he half welcomes the knife that despatches him." - Angela Carter, an excerpt from 'The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories'.
The thirst of voice has reignited. To write them, to birth them, to nurse them. The fragmentations of self that exist within the subconscious. The fragile ones that come from dreams. And the bruised ones that come from nightmares. Yes, the thirst of voice has returned. The need for life, to be written, expressed, screamed, screeched, seethed, inked. To be buried within this text. Under words, under ellipses, under hyphens, under hesitations, in bones and blood. The life that flows from the fluidity of fingers. The unconscious tide here now and dragged out tomorrow.
All in all, creation at its hilt. There’s been mornings of sheer exasperation and nights of intoxication. More often than not, a slice of sweetness to sate. Fallen Bitter Chocolate Orange Cake. It’s richness. There’s the presence of darkness from chocolate, toasted undertone of burnt hazelnut, zested fervor from Seville orange, and an all-encompassing tang from botanical bitters. The cake rises during baking and falls back on itself as it comes to cool. Allow it to happen. The souffléd process yields the most intense, dulcet, and supple mouthful imaginable.
The chocolate is the star in this recipe. And there’s really nowhere to hide with it. Use a block of the best quality you can find. I love Callebaut chocolate that contains at least 70% cacao solids. It's on the slightly bitter side. If you prefer something a little sweeter, I recommend using chocolate with no less than 50% cacao solids.
For this recipe, you don’t want to reach stiff peaks in the meringue. So be careful not to over-whisk the egg whites. They should easily be able to be folded into the batter without resistance. Just firm, yet still supple. Two minutes after the sugar is added usually does it for me.
This cake stores well in the refrigerator and tastes even better the day after making. It’s perfect to be made ahead of time, stored, and served the day or night of.
FALLEN BITTER CHOCOLATE ORANGE CAKE
170 grams dark chocolate, finelychopped
145 grams unsalted butter, cubed
Zest from ½ small orange
½ teaspoon bitters, optional
¼ teaspoon salt
4 medium eggs, separated
140 grams granulated sugar
70 grams hazelnut flour
Dutch processed cocoa powder or confectioners’ sugar, for serving
Lightly sweetened whipped cream or crème fraiche, for serving
Pre-heat the oven to 180 c (350 f). Grease and line a 20 cm (8 inch) cake pan with non-stick parchment paper. Set aside.
Place the finely chopped dark chocolate and cubed butter into a medium sized mixing bowl set over a saucepan filled with an inch of barely simmering water. Do not let the water touch the base of the bowl. Heat on medium-low, stirring often, until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the orange zest, bitters, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and set on medium speed, whisk together the egg yolks and half the sugar until pale, thick, and doubled in volume, about 4 minutes. Fold the mixture into the bowl with the melted dark chocolate until just beginning to incorporate, then fold in the hazelnut meal until just combined. Some streaks are ok. Set aside.
Next, pour the egg whites into a clean and dry stand mixer bowl fitted with a clean and dry whisk attachment. Whisk, on medium speed, until the whites are foamy and almost doubled in size. Add in the remaining half of the sugar, a little at a time, until all incorporated. Continue to whisk until medium-glossy meringue peaks have formed, about 2 more minutes.
Fold the meringue mixture into the chocolate until just incorporated then pour the mixture into the prepared cake pan.
Bake, for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the cake has risen and is firm around the edges. The center should not come out clean when a skewer is inserted into the middle, but rather with a few sticky and moist crumbs attached. Remove from the oven and let the cake cool in its pan until it reaches room temperature. The top of the cake should begin to crackle and fall as it cools. Just before serving, dust over a little cocoa power or confectioners’ sugar and serve alongside a generous dollop of cream, if desired.