EasyRecipes: Getting Older & the Importance of Chocolate Cake


It feels like ages since I’ve posted something.  I had a really bad cold, and I didn’t feel like doing anything for a couple of weeks.  I also turned 52.

I had this urge to bake a chocolate cake with white, fluffy icing just like my grandma, Mabel Carter, used to make.  I never made her “7 minute frosting” before, but I thought it was high time now that I am starting to look like her!

After looking hard and not being able to find her recipe in my collection, I decided to make one that sounded just like hers, called “Wonderful Marshmallow-Like Frosting” by Susan Branch that is in her Sweets to the Sweet book.  She has a cult following, and I am one of her groupies.  Here’s what she says, followed by the recipe:

“The classic boiled frosting, pure white, shiny and fluffy.  You’ll need a candy thermometer.

1/3 c. water                                        a pinch of salt

1 c. sugar                                           2 egg whites

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar           1 tsp. vanilla

Stir the water, sugar, cream of tartar & salt together in a small, heavy-bottomed pan.  Hook a candy thermometer to the edge of the pan & boil without stirring until mixture reaches 240 F.  In the meantime, beat egg whites until stiff.  Pour the 240F syrup over the whites in a thin stream, beating constantly until thick & glossy.  Stir in the vanilla.  Now frost the cake!

I found a simple chocolate cake recipe called “Gateau Therese” in David Lebovitz’s The Sweet Life in Paris.  This is a must read book, by the way.  The following is what he has to say about it…

“Every Frenchwoman I know loves chocolate so much she has a chocolate cake in her repertoire that she’s committed to memory, one she can make on a moment’s notice.  This one comes from Therese Pella, who lives across the boulevard from me; when I first tasted the cake, I swooned from the rich, dark chocolate flavor and insisted on the recipe.

Madame Pellas is fanatical about making the cake 2 days in advance and storing it in her kitchen cabinet before serving, which she says improves the chocolate flavor.  And the Brie she keeps in there as well doesn’t seem to mind the company…”


I actually use just one stick of butter, which is probably a few grams less than what is called for, and, since most of my friends are into gluten-free eating, I use ground almonds instead of flour.

9 ounces (250g) bittersweet chocolate or semisweet chocolate, chopped

8 T. (120 g) butter

1/3 cp. (65 g) sugar

4 eggs, at room temperature, separated

2 T. ground almonds

A pinch of salt

  1. Preheat oven to 350F (180C).  Butter a 9-inch loaf pan (I used a 9’ round springform pan or whatever) and line bottom with parchment paper.
  2. In a big bowl set over a pan of simmering water, heat the chocolate and butter together until just melted and smooth.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in about half of the sugar, then the egg yolks, and then the ground almonds.
  4. Start whipping the egg whites with that pinch of salt.  Continue whipping until you start to see soft, droopy peaks.  Gradually whip in the rest of the sugar until the egg whites are smooth and hold their shape when the whisk is lifted.
  5. Using a rubber spatula, fold about a third of the egg whets into the chocolate mixture, then fold the rest of the egg whites just until the mixture is smooth and no visible white streaks remain.
  6. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smooth it on top, and bake around 35 min., or just until the cake feels slightly firm in the center.  Do not overbake!

Try this recipe…it’s really really good.

And, oh, thankfully, it’s Spring!

5 thoughts on “EasyRecipes: Getting Older & the Importance of Chocolate Cake

  1. Hi there,
    Oh, I did not use wheat flour in this recipe! I used ground almonds. You see, I adapted my recipe to be gluten-free from David Lebovitz’s….
    You might want to try again.
    And, the chocolate I used was the dark chocolate chips from Callebaut.
    I really like this chocolate, and so does David Lebovitz. It also happens to be easy for me to buy at my local health food store. If it wasn’t easy to get, I wouldn’t bother, I would find the next best thing.
    At any rate, try it again, it will become a staple. Good Luck!

  2. Hello, I tried this cake recipe yesterday but somehow couldn’t get the same result as you, my cake definitely wasn’t looking that good (atleast it tasted good). What sort of chocolate are you using? Maybe it’s because of the flour I used, so I used tapioca flour instead of normal wheat flour.

  3. You look soooo great and that cake what can I say. You are such a good cook, baker etc. That icing is different than the kind my mother had me make – but will try it.

    Thanks for being the great person you are – love you

  4. Well, Happy Birthday!! I love your recipe–sounds very yummy. I also am crazy about 7 min. icing. My Mom used to make one to put atop an apple pie–m-m-m-m good. I planted my poppy seed and am eager to see them arise.

  5. Happy Birthday Sadhvi and Happy Spring. Are you a March baby? I am one too, my birthday is next Monday. Your chocolate cake sounds divine & I love the photo of the cake & your new photo too.
    Hope your cold is gone & you enjoy a beautiful Spring.

    Mary Rose

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