Chocolate Cake

Mrs. Stein’s Chocolate Cake, adapted from Sarabeth’s Bakery: From My Hands to Yours, by Sarabeth Levine

10 tablespoons (1 ¼ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch cubes and chilled, plus softened butter to grease the pan
2 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus flour for the pan
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 ½ cups whole milk
½ ounce unsweetened chocolate, or ½ square, finely chopped
1 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 ¾ cups superfine sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs, at room temperature, beaten
Confectioners’ sugar, for garnish, optional

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Butter and flour the inside of an 8-10 cup fluted tube pan or bundt pan and tap out the excess flour.

2. In a glass measuring cup, stir the lemon juice into the whole milk. Let stand in a warm place, near the preheating oven, while preparing the rest of the batter. The milk will curdle.

3. Bring ½ inch of water to a simmer in a small saucepan and turn off the heat. Put the chocolate in a custard cup or ramekin and set it in the hot water. Let stand until the chocolate has melted, then remove from the water, and stir until smooth. Let stand until the chocolate reaches room temperature.

4. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl.

5. Put the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Gradually beat in the sugar and then add the vanilla. Beat until the mixture is light in color and texture, scraping down the sides occasionally, about 4 minutes. Slowly beat in the eggs. Reduce the speed to low. Mix in the cooled chocolate. Alternating with two equal additions of the curdled milk, add 1/3 of the flour mixture at a time, scraping down the bowl and beating until smooth after each addition.

6. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula.

7. Bake until the top of the cake springs back when gently pressed with your finger and a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool on a wire rack still in the pan for 10 minutes. Then invert and unmold the cake onto the rack and cool completely. When cool, sift confectioners’ sugar over the top of the cake, if using.

Yield: 10-12 servings

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