Please, indulge me and allow me to elaborate.
I have this little ritual on weekends, which involves going and getting boba at my favorite tapioca tea shop in the area (and, because it's run by proper Taiwanese who know what they're doing with their boba, arguably the best boba shop in the Bay Area--write me if you want deets) and then browsing one of the most awesome used bookstores that is conveniently located on the same street. Sometimes, even, you can find gems at said used bookstore, because they not only carry used books, but they also carry new ones (at a discounted price) as well. So, I go and get my boba tea, and then I browse the bookstore, making the rounds from the comics section (to check if they have anything new for my Foxtrot collection) to the cookbook section (which eats up--pun intended--most of my time) to the NPR, book prize, and Oprah book club carts to the recent acquisitions and finally ending with random wandering of the entire store.
One fateful Friday night, as I'm looking in the "desserts" subsection of the cooking shelves, what do I see but a brand new hardcover copy of David Lebovitz's out-of-print, impossible-to-find Room for Dessert! (Note: just a few weeks prior to this, I'd found his Ripe for Dessert book in the same place and snatched it up hurriedly.) Yipee! Ever since falling in love with his ice cream book, The Perfect Scoop, I've been hankering after his first two publications, and I was super excited to find this one to round off my search. Then, as I opened the book to peek at the recipes inside, this is what I find:
"Hm.... that looks vaguely as if it says 'Davi....(mad scribble)"".' Could it be...?"
And, folks, this is where the awesomeness of modern technology comes in: With my handy-dandy iPhone, I snap that picture that you see above--all while kneeling in the "cooking" section of the bookstore--and log into Twitter and write:
Of course I bought the book regardless, but not too long after I return home from the bookstore, I log onto Twitter to find:@davidlebovitz is this ur signature??? Found @ a bookstore and am super excited to have a copy! (& a signed one?) http://yfrog.com/3lx7rlj
@expectfailure Yes, I hope you bought it! (If it was reasonable...)Yes! This is why the 21st century rocks. I mean, immediate confirmation from the brilliant David Lebovitz himself! Suck on that, Ken Rockwell. :-)
Anyways, suffice it to say that I was/am super excited about having the book, and not only do the recipes look super delish but also the forward and little anecdotes included make for a fun read. Looking through the book, the first recipe that I immediately wanted to try was "Chocolate Orbit Cake," which really should be called "No-nonsense Chocolate, baked in the oven" because it really just is a super rich and ever-so-moist brownie with no flour. And boy was it yummy!
To complement the cake (because, it's basically just chocolate, eggs, and butter--I'm not kidding), I pulled out some blackberry-cassis sauce I store in the freezer for occasions just like this one, and the tangy fruit of the sauce was perfect next to the intense and extra-dense chocolate-ness of the cake. A few days later, I polished off another slice with some neapolitan ice cream, so I can attest to the fact that ice cream also goes really well with the cake, as I am sure that Lebovitz's own recommendation of creme anglaise would, too.
Read on for recipe...
Chocolate Orbit Cake with Blackberry-Cassis Sauce
Chocolate Orbit Cake
from Room for Dessert by David Lebovitz
makes one 9" cake
1/2 pound butter, in small chunks
12 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Line the bottom of a 9" round pan with parchment paper and butter the bottom and sides.
3. Combine the butter and chocolate in a double boiler. Cook until melted.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar and the eggs.
5. Whisk in the melted chocolate to the sugar and eggs.
6. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan, and place this cake pan into a water bath, with warm water reaching about half-way up the sides.
7. Cover tightly with foil. (I forgot this step and ended up with a bit of a crust.)
8. Bake in the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the cake appears set and your finger comes away clean when you touch the center.
9. Remove from oven and water bath and let cool completely.
(makes more than enough for this cake. I always freeze extra and have it on hand to accompany cakes, ice creams, and other desserts when needed.)
1 bag of frozen blackberries
1-2 baskets of fresh blackberries
1/3 cup creme de cassis
1/4 cup sugar, approx.
juice of 1/2 lemon
zest of 1 lemon
1 tspn cornstarch
pinch of salt
1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the blackberries, frozen and fresh, until they begin to release their juices.
2. Add in the creme de cassis, sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice and bring to a simmer.
3. When the liquid begins to simmer, spoon about 1/4 cup of the liquid into a small bowl. Add the cornstarch to the liquid in the bowl and whisk thoroughly until the cornstarch is dissolved. Return the cornstarch mixture to the berries cooking in the saucepan.
4. Bring the mixture to a boil and allow to boil for about a minute.
5. Reduce heat to a simmer until the liquid begins to be syrupy. Remove from heat--serve warm immediately or reheat in microwave before serving (if you are freezing the sauce for later use).