One rainy afternoon in a seemingly commonplace Tuscan villa near the small village of Impruneta, Veronica made us chocolate cake. The real kind, with melted high quality chocolate and Bialetti brewed espresso. A month earlier I would never expect to find myself in this particular kitchen on a plain February Monday afternoon. Possibly drinking coffee and perhaps eating pieces of store bought dark chocolate while drudging over my endless to do-list – sure! Sounds like my average Monday. But having heartfelt meetings with likeminded creatives during hours of cooking classes (in Italy!) while obsessively capturing every single moment because of its pure beauty – definitely not.
Yet every once in a while, extraordinary opportunities find their ways into your inbox, and all you can do is jump onto them. This was one of those. Perhaps you have already read the story of our first day at the food photography retreat at La Quercia Estate? If not, here’s a quick recap: The awesome ladies Tania & Maria of EaTravel invited me and a bunch of other top notch European bloggers (Valentina, Zaira, Carolina & Ingrid) to join them for a 3 day slow living and food photography retreat just outside of Florence. The promise of delicious Italian food, stunning landscapes and inspiring meetings made the decision to go a no brainer.
We stayed at an old restored villa called La Quercia Estate, warmly welcomed and taken care of by mother and daughter Veronica & Margherita. Veronica, who has dedicated her heart and soul to this place since she was in her early 20s, taught us everything she knows about traditional Italian cooking (Or at least the gems of it. Turns out she also has quite a thing for healthy, plant based eating!). Meanwhile, we ate, drank and photographed. Life could be worse ;-)
Today I want to share the recipe for the Chocolate Cake she made us that rainy afternoon. This is a traditional chocolate cake so no veganized version or anything (sorry!), but I hope you planties can enjoy the photographs at least ;-) Every single moment of this cooking session was breathtakingly beautiful and a pure bliss to edit. I have photos of every single step of the cake making process, so we’re gonna do the recipe instructions a bit different this time! You will find the ingredients list just below, and then the photos will guide you through the process.
Veronica’s Chocolate Cake
200g dark chocolate, melted
50g plain flour
25g cacao powder
2 pinches of salt
1 tbsp cold water
3 eggs, separated
1/2 cup espresso
Follow the step by step instructions accompanied photos below :-)
First of all – heat up some water in a sauce pan and place a smaller sauce pan inside. Add the chocolate and butter to the smaller sauce pan and leave to gently melt over the water bath. Brew some strong espresso (you will need it later) and set the oven to 180’C / 355’F.
Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites into two bowls. Add a pinch of salt to each bowl. Also add sugar + 1 tbsp cold water to the bowl of egg yolks.
Beat it! For about 5-6 minutes with an electrical mixer to make it very fluffy (both the egg yolks and the egg whites).
Sift the flour into the bowl of egg yolks and sugar.
Just get it all in there.
Also sift the cacao powder into the same bowl.
Stir to combine.
When the chocolate and butter is melted, stir to combine completely. Then pour the mixture into the bowl of egg yolks, sugar and flour.
Measure the espresso and add this to the egg yolk/chocolate bowl as well.
Gently fold in the egg whites from bottom to top.
Until it’s all mixed but not overly beated.
Wet a piece of parchment paper, squeeze out the water and line it along a cake form. Pour the batter into it.
Cut off the excessive parchment paper.
Bake the cake in the middle of the oven for about 20-25 minutes. To test if it’s ready – put a knife into the middle of the cake. If it comes out (relatively) clean the cake is done. Take the cake out and let it cool completely.
Put a large plate on top of the cake form and flip it, so the cake comes out upside down (with the parchment paper still stuck to it). Carefully remove the parchment paper.
Sift with confectioner’s sugar and decorate with fresh berries. Enjoy with friends :-)
Everyone makes their chocolate cake differently. What is you go to method? Tell me about it in the comments below!
Disclaimer: I was invited to join this retreat and stay at La Quercia Estate free of charge (except for the plane tickets, which I paid for myself). I haven’t been paid to write about the estate, but I chose to do so anyway. All editorial choices and opinions are 100% my own :-)
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