Wouldn’t it be convenient if all family disconnects and misunderstandings could be resolved in the time it takes a television family to reach the moral of the episode? Factoring in commercial breaks, the route from the heartbreaking to the heartwarming moments would be a mere twenty minutes. But life is not a conveniently timed sitcom, and despite emulating her dance moves, I am no Stephanie Tanner.
The longer route very well may be the difficult route and the route dampened by tears, but it may also be the route that leads to growth and change. Sometimes the bitter tears of sadness give way to the sweeter tears of happiness. If that transformation lasted only twenty minutes, would we cherish the change in the same way? Would long awaited words have the same treasured ring?
The holidays can be difficult. We do not choose our families, but we can choose to fight with them or fight for them. This holiday was bittersweet for me. I shed many tears of sorrow before feeling inklings of hope and seeing glimmers of change in all of us. While the sadness swirled inside me, I swirled chocolate into a rich liquid. I separated eggs and watched with wonder as the clear, viscous egg whites began to form snowy mountain peaks. I listened for the popping of cranberries. I whipped cream until it too formed beautiful snowy trails around the chilled mixer blades. While all my emotions stirred, I stirred a batter to share with the ones I sought to love in a more meaningful way.
Much like taking the long routes for growth and change, taking the long route in baking delivers a more treasured reward. There isn’t a fast track to opening someone’s guarded heart, nor is there a fast track to a dessert prepared by heart and hand. Should you be crying with sadness or crying for joy, I hope the layers of this dessert, each lovingly prepared, will remind you of this- the journey may be long, but the dedication will make the culminating bite all the richer, all the sweeter and all the more satisfying! Merry Christmas to all and to all chocolate cake!
Flourless Chocolate Sunken Souffle Cake
With Cranberry-Orange Compote & Whipped Cream & Toasted Coconut
8 Tablespoons coconut oil
12 oz dark chocolate (68 – 72%), chopped
1 1/4 cup raw sugar
6 large local/free-range eggs, separated
1 1/2 Tablespoons fresh orange zest
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Grease one 9-inch round springform pan with coconut oil.
Combine the chocolate and coconut oil in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until melted.
Remove from heat and set aside to let cool briefly.
Whisk together the egg yolks.
Once the chocolate mixture is about room temperature or just barely warm, gradually pour the egg yolks into the chocolate mixture, whisking continuously.
Stir in 3/4 cup sugar, the orange zest, ground cinnamon and salt.
In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until soft peaks form.
Add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and continue to whip just until stiff peaks form. Do not overmix or lose your sense of wonder when watching the peaks form.
Stir a third of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Then, fold in the remainder of the egg whites just until there are no more visible streaks. Be careful not to overmix.
Immediately pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the top of the cake is dry, but do not let the cake crack. Remove the cake from the oven. The middle should still be a bit underbaked, but the cake will continue to set as it cools.
Place the cake on a wire cooling rack and let cool completely before unmolding.
1 Tablespoon orange zest
12 oz fresh cranberries
1 cup local wildflower honey
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Combine zest, cranberries, honey, juice, and vanilla in a medium saucepan.
Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until cranberries have burst and sauce has thickened, 5–10 minutes.
Serve the sauce warm over the cake.
1 cup heavy cream, chilled
1 teaspoon vanilla
Swirls of honey and maple syrup to taste
User a mixer to beat the cream. As it starts to thicken, add the vanilla, honey and maple syrup. Continue to mix until soft peaks form. Keep chilled until ready to serve.
Putting It All Together
Last but not least… toast up some shredded coconut. Slice a piece of the cake, top with a spoonful of the warm cranberry-orange compote and a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkling of toasted coconut! Serve with a glass of this egg nog and a cinnamon stick stirrer for a flavorful measure!