My dad LOVES chocolate. Intense, bitter, extreme dark chocolate. So for his birthday I wanted to make him something extremely chocolately. Except I had a slight problem - our oven is on the fritz, so baking is out of the question... or is it?! One does not necessarily need an oven to bake. Humans were baking long before the conventional oven was invented, and even now some of us humans continue to bake over open flame and hot coals.
I've never baked a cake on a grill before, so I searched the interwebs for a fool-proof chocolate cake recipe and decided on David Lebovitz's Chocolate Idiot Cake. This recipe claims to be idiot proof, which I thoroughly tested and confirmed. It's so simple, it only has four ingredients:
10 oz. Bittersweet Chocolate
7 oz. Unsalted Butter
5 large Eggs
1 cup Sugar
Get all the ingredients together and light up the grill.
Prepare a 9-inch spring-form pan by buttering it and then dusting it with cocoa powder.
Wrap the pan in a single sheet of foil to protect the cake from the water-bath that it will ultimately be cooked in (this isn't necessary if you are not using a springform pan).
My foil wasn't large enough to cover the entire pan with one piece, so I tried using two pieces. It seemed to work at first, but later on when the cake was nearly finished, I noticed some water hanging out with the cake inside the pan. I panicked. My cake was swimming! It was clearly ruined! ...or was it? I simply dumped the water off the cake and put it back on the grill to dry off a little, finish baking, and in the end it was like nothing happened. After that catastrophe, I was convinced - this recipe really is idiot-proof!
I'm getting ahead of myself... to make the cake, begin by roughly chopping the chocolate into chunks, cut the butter into a few pieces, and then melt the butter and chocolate together in a double boiler. Choose your chocolate carefully as this is the primary flavor of this cake. I used Scharffenberger 99% unsweetened baking chocolate, plus a few Guittard semisweet chocolate chips because I didn't have quite enough Schrffenberger on hand.
When the chocolate is completely melted, whisk it into the eggs and sugar.
Put the batter into the prepped pan and then place the whole thing in a larger pan.
By now the coals should be ready. Divide them onto two sides of the grill like this:
Put the cake on the grill and add water to to the outer pan until it's about half-way up the edge of the cake pan. I also moved our oven thermometer out to the grill to make sure it wasn't getting too hot. The original recipe says to bake at 350F. Surprisingly it remained around 300-350 the entire time.
Either cover the cake with foil, or put a lid on it. Then close the grill and let it bake for about an hour.
Check it every 20-30 minutes, and more frequently once it's getting close to done. It's done when a toothpick or knife can be inserted and cleanly removed from the cake. About 30minutes into baking I added a few pieces of charcoal. ...I also made dinner on the grill while the cake baked. Mmmm whiskey-maple sausage!
...but luckily I had some chocolate ganache in my freezer (left over from Chocolate Macarons) that I melted and used as frosting.
In the end, this cake was INTENSE. Somewhere between a dense mousse and a silky fudge - chocolate perfection.