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Simply Good Chocolate Cake

Simply Good Chocolate Cake

Spring. Easter. Trees in bloom. Bright sunshine. Rain drops. Big sneezes. Little colds. Travels. Coming home. And chocolate.

My mom asked me the other day what was my creative process to write posts. Well, there it is. I throw words on paper. Words that go with the pictures I have taken of the recipe I have just made. I take them and elaborate with each paragraph. That’s the process. My way of remembering to hit all the key points of what I want to talk about. Sometimes events prompt me to a recipe. Sometimes I just execute for no other reason than the desire to cook, bake or simply eat (I know – how very pedestrian, right?!). Now, that’s just me. How do you go about writing a post?

Simply Good Chocolate Cake

Words. Pictures. Moments. They all weave together to give you a story. I like stories. For the past two weeks I have been listening to my mom tell the family’s stories. Some were old news, others not. Cousins getting married. Some having babies. Planning my grandfather’s 100th birthday party. Quarrels and accolades. It’s a big family. It bends and it snaps. It mends together and alone too. There are events or moments however that help us cross bridges and stick together, like Easter and Spring.

Simply Good Chocolate Cake

And chocolate. A good, simple chocolate cake. One we happily sunk our teeth into coming home from an escapade to Asheville, NC this past weekend. This was the perfect time of year to experience the duality that is early Spring in our region. Each week brings a mix of cold and hot days, sunshine and rain, thunderstorms even. Cardigans, tee shirts, pants, short, boots and sandals. All have to be at the ready for a few more days until the weather balance finally shifts completely.

Back home we say "En Avril, ne te decouvre pas d’un fil" (meaning in April you are better off not shedding all your warm layers yet). Here in the South, that advice rings true comes mid-March but in his usual fashion, my Southern boy pretty much relocated all warm layers to the back of the closet. And got a cold. One of those nasty colds with big sneezes and heavy head, sore throat and low fever. And with men’s general low tolerance of discomfort, you would think this is the end of the world of course.

Simply Good Chocolate Cake

One thing that reassured me that the world was not going to fall apart for Bill was that he never lost his appetite. How can you in Asheville? One of the best food oriented towns in the South East! We had some of those typical Spring days I was just mentioning above leaving us with just a small craving for something chocolate. A small but nipping feeling that could only get satisfied with a light but intense bite of chocolate cake.

In doubt. Make cake. In craving. Make chocolate cake. The world around you will instantly be comforting and lovely.

Simply Good Chocolate Cake

This could well turn out to be my favorite gluten free chocolate cake to date. One that holds many promises for changes and substitutions. We had it plain but I can easily foresee the addition of pecans, walnuts or pistachios in the near future. Maybe chocolate chips added to the batter for that little extra fudgy feeling when they are still warm out of the oven. A ripe mashed banana could easily find its way in there one day soon. Who knows? Can’t wait to bake it again!

Before I leave you with the recipe, I must announce the winner of the givewaway last week: congratulations to Julie from Kitchen. The cards and book will be on their way to Vancouver as soon as you send me your address via email {mytartelette AT gmail DOT com}

Simpy Good Chocolate Cake:

Serves 8

Notes: I like to use superfine gluten free flours more and more gluten free baked goods as some people always have issue with the slight change in texture and softness compared to regular all purpose flour. They are easily found online but feel free to use whatever you have on hand and if you don’t have to go gluten freee, use regular flour instead.
By choice, I’ve almost completely switched to baking with maple syrup, honey or sucanat which I used here but feel free to use regular sugar instead.

2 large eggs
3/4 cup (150gr) sucanat or regular sugar
1 cup (250ml) sour cream
6 oz (180gr) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1 stick (115gr) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 cup (75gr) superfine brown rice flour
1/2 cup (75gr) superfine sweet rice flour
1/2 cup (65gr) sorghum flour
1/2 cup (75gr) millet flour
OR 2 cups (250gr) all purpose flour instead of the 4 flours mentioned above
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (do not use with all purpose flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350F and position a rack in the middle.
Line the inside of 8-10 muffin tins with cupcake liners, or 8 ramekins or one 8-inch round cake tin (use a piece of parchment paper at the bottom). Lightly butter or spray the inside of the tins.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the eggs and sucanat/sugar for 2-3 minutes at medium speed until light and airy. Turn the speed to low and add the sour cream, the melted chocolate and butter and continue to whip until everything looks fully blended. Slowly add the cocoa powder, all the gluten free flours (or all purpose if using), the gum, baking powder and pinch of salt. Turn the speed back up to medium and whip until the batter comes together in a uniform manner.
Divide among the prepared cake tins (or one single cake pan) and bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

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m March 30, 2010 um 7:53 pm

You write beautifully. It makes sense that you like stories, because your posts are all about storytelling! And not just the food, though the food is always impeccable. :]

Jessica March 30, 2010 um 7:53 pm

My mouth is just watering. What an absolutely gorgeous presentation!

justforlicks March 30, 2010 um 7:55 pm

Your photos are beautiful and I love the elegant way you served your chocolate cakes.

Gaby March 30, 2010 um 7:57 pm

I want to get on a plane right now and fly to S. Carolina and eat all of these! They look and sounds fantastic – and I love those little cups/pots that you baked them in! So cute!

Lilly Higgins March 30, 2010 um 8:13 pm

I so agree! Chocolate cake just makes everything seem fine again! These look amazing, and of course you beautiful photography, these pictures make me want to make them.
I write my blog just the same way, I write and rewrite it in my head as I'm baking or sewing, so when it comes to writing the post it all just flows out. I never really thought about it until now though! x

Renata March 30, 2010 um 8:14 pm

Hi Helen, I'm brazilian, and I just love "My"! The pictures are marvelous and the recipes are very sofisticated. Once I made your "Chocolate trufle tart", stenciled a chocolate pouwder heart on top, and it made a huge success! They're especially easy to translate to portuguese because of the measures in grams (we just don't know nothing about pounds, inches and ounces!), so I really have fun with them! Can't wait to make this cake!

Lauren March 30, 2010 um 8:23 pm

Your presentation is lovely – are those tin cans? I love how it looks so rustic, yet so refined.

bunkycooks March 30, 2010 um 8:40 pm

Your posts are always the perfect mix of lovely writing and beautiful photographs. Stories are good. So is chocolate cake!

Sarah, Maison Cupcake March 30, 2010 um 8:44 pm

I always give a big satisfied sigh when I look at your pictures, that little tray full of cakes looks so beautiful.

vanille March 30, 2010 um 8:58 pm

Adorables ces petits gâteaux au chocolat !

traci March 30, 2010 um 9:07 pm

My husband has to eat a gluten free diet, and I'm just now learning how to make gluten free things for him. I'm impressed with recipies and presentations like this that show "gluten free" doesn't have to equal "cardbord crap." This is so inspiring to me! Thanks!!

griottes March 30, 2010 um 9:09 pm

So quiet and yummy…
I loved chocolate ! You're photos are so amazing !

Johanna March 30, 2010 um 9:12 pm

It looks… delicious!

Su-yin March 30, 2010 um 9:17 pm

So so gorgeous. Thanks for providing an alternative to the GF flours, as I think I'd find it hard to source all those flours. Definitely something I'm going to make.

I love your cute little pots you've baked these in, and that tray is just beautifully rustic. I need to get myself more props! 😛

Jayme March 30, 2010 um 9:48 pm

I write my blog posts with nearly the same process, though they don't quite come out as eloquent as yours 🙂

I love the rustic look of those tins. Gorgeous shots as usual!

Edda March 30, 2010 um 9:58 pm

I trust you instantly 🙂 The use of different flours is very interesting.
And, as usual, I'm fascinated by your photos and the soft mood

jacqui March 30, 2010 um 10:38 pm

This would be lovely for Easter! Where did you get those cups the cakes are baked in? They remind me of a technique I've seen done, where you use tin cans from beans/soups.

geogirl March 30, 2010 um 10:41 pm

these photos are so lovely – and you capture so well the shifting seasons. here in minnesota, we had a strangely warm day (in the low 70sF!), but layers will be necessary for a while yet!

i have a question: i've been following your recipes for a while and am also shifting towards honey/maple syrup instead of sugar. do you (or others reading this) have a good rule of thumb for quantities of substitutions for sugar? or a good resource/reference to suggest?

thanks as always for sharing your recipes, photos *and* words!

The Duo Dishes March 30, 2010 um 11:19 pm

Love the story and all of these photos. This is totally spring eats.

iga@thedelishdish March 30, 2010 um 11:25 pm

i always looks forward to your posts and stories! and of course the delicious recipes. ive never made a gluten free cake but i'd love to experiment & this one sounds too good to pass up!

Anonymous March 30, 2010 um 11:43 pm

Your photos are always so amazing! I love your blog so much!

My writing process is kinda… Weird, I guess. I never feel like I have very much to say, but I try to make a simple observation on a mundane thing and go from there. Otherwise, I just try and try and try. Doesn't always turn out so well!

Cindy March 31, 2010 um 12:24 am

Your writing and photos are lovely. I'm so glad you're sharing a chocolate cake recipe. Chocolate cake is one of my favorite foods!


Fiona March 31, 2010 um 12:40 am

We'll be making these this weekend – I just happen to have all the ingredients in my cupboard. Perfect recipe for Easter. Thank you!

Sonia ~ Nasi Lemak Lover March 31, 2010 um 2:36 am

This cake look simply delicious !

Alice March 31, 2010 um 3:35 am

Hooray for Asheville! I always jump for joy when I discover someone else who loves my hometown as much as I do! where did you eat??

Rachael Hutchings March 31, 2010 um 3:39 am

I always look forward to your stories! Although I always love your recipes and your (INSANELY) gorgeous pictures, your stories are what have kept me coming back over and over again over the years! Thanks for sharing so much of the wonderful you!

Anonymous March 31, 2010 um 4:14 am

My kids are what inspire my posts. Those chocolate cakes look great. Now I'm in the mood for cake!

Margaret March 31, 2010 um 6:06 am

Is superfine rice flour different from regular rice flour??? I've never seen it before!

Snooky doodle March 31, 2010 um 6:12 am

yummy this cake looks plain and glorious :)and an added bonus. It s gluten free 🙂

Cherine March 31, 2010 um 7:24 am

Loved reading your story! gorgeous cake & photos!

Paula March 31, 2010 um 7:43 am

it looks delicious and I would like some ;P

ControlCalorie March 31, 2010 um 9:41 am

Those are nice looking tartlettes! I bet they really taste good! The presentation is also cute! Thanks for sharing this recipe!

Helen March 31, 2010 um 9:44 am

All of these pictures are gorgeous and really capture the essence of Spring and Easter (my favourite time of the year!)

Poires au Chocolat March 31, 2010 um 10:31 am

What a lovely post. Your pictures are truly gorgeous today. I love chocolate cakes – these look beautiful in their individual tins.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) March 31, 2010 um 11:41 am

The last time I visited Asheville was in April, the perfect time, most definitely spring but also with some cool nights. It's a great food town.

angela@spinachtiger March 31, 2010 um 12:28 pm

I have been looking for a recipe that I can add my own chocolate and less cocoa and here it is. I love the cups you put them in. The one thing I always do with chocolate cake is add in a shot of espresso.

Rhonda March 31, 2010 um 12:28 pm

I enjoy your posts because of your story telling along with such great recipes. Chocolate cake will make anyone or any day better just because. Understand about the man thing too, so funny aren't they. My son thought is was weird when I saved all the 'tin' cans to make little cakes. Your pictures reminded me of that and my grandmother's coffee can cakes. Thank you.

Jolette March 31, 2010 um 12:57 pm

Yes to the pistachio version! These look absolutely to-die-for, but perhaps my resistance is just low because I've been working non-stop for five days… It's time for some sleep.

Thanks for another delicious post!

Helene March 31, 2010 um 1:45 pm

geogirl: when it comes to sucanat I pretty much use the same amounts as sugar. For honey, I use about half. Maple syrup I go by taste. It's best to take the time to figure out what you like best for your palate.

Margaret: yes it is very different. I am having a hard time using regular rice flour now.

Nicolette March 31, 2010 um 1:50 pm

I love the tiny tins these cakes are in! Your photos always seem to blend beautiful rustic elements with modern presentation ideas. I love your blog!
As for the writing process, I always seems to start with an idea I really want people to know about; usually a story or a discovery, and I try to tell it with honest positivity. Food is all about sharing with other people anyway isn't it? The good, the bad, and the occasional ugly 🙂

WendyinKK March 31, 2010 um 2:22 pm

For a while I sat there looking at your title.
It has always been something more complicated that just Simply good Chocolate Cake.
But when I looked at the recipe, hahaha, as usual, Tartlette's never that simple.

Helene March 31, 2010 um 2:55 pm

Wendyywy: I think what looks complicated is the list of the gf flours but the rest is very standard cake making method: eggs+sugar+sour cream+butter+flour, baking powder, mix and bake.
Hope you try it some day!

Rocky Mountain Woman March 31, 2010 um 3:51 pm

Love the presentation and the photography is just incredible!

Palaisdeslys March 31, 2010 um 5:08 pm

Oh my god, ils sont terribles tes petites douceurs chocolatées et quelles photos magnifiques!

Melange a Trois March 31, 2010 um 8:08 pm

So so beautiful. I can't get enough chocolate right now. My friend just sent me some chocolate for hot chocolate from Florence and I had three yesterday.

Nantucket Mermaid March 31, 2010 um 10:59 pm

I'm glad you are posting more….and gluten free! I am going to make these for Easter with my Mom. I'm introducing her to gluten free. Did you know that the Culinary Institute of America has a gluten free cook book out? YEAH! Thanks again and happy spring! 🙂

Cookin' Canuck March 31, 2010 um 11:18 pm

Your presentation of these cakes is gorgeous! My posts are never written sitting in front of the computer. Ideas for them come to me at the oddest times – in the shower, while walking our dog, while folding laundry. I suppose it's times when my mind is not otherwise occupied.

Cakebrain April 1, 2010 um 3:01 am

Initially I thought the "sucanat" would be difficult to source. I hadn't heard of it before. When I hit the link, I realized I've been using it for years! I know it as organic evaporated cane sugar! well, I learn something new everyday! The cakes look lovely (as usual!)

colorchic April 1, 2010 um 4:24 am

Beautiful! I wasn't going to make chocolate for our Easter Dessert, but now I may have to rethink what I will be baking!…

Anonymous April 1, 2010 um 8:27 am

Hi Tartlette,

You are so right about baking a cake to make everything right again. It's like bringing a fairytale moment into our lives.
I always bake to de-stress and nothing beats chocolate cake. Ever!

The Teacher Cooks April 1, 2010 um 2:25 pm

I love the individual pans that you used to cook these little jewels in as well as the spoon with the little flowers on the handle. Beautiful. One layer of chocolate goodness is something that I want right now.

Kathryn April 1, 2010 um 9:16 pm

I love the little individual muffin tins you used. Your treatment of the whole scene is simply beautiful.

{this is glamorous} April 2, 2010 um 12:27 am

these look positively delicious! as for writing posts, definitely a painstaking process, but worth it in the end 🙂


Sue April 2, 2010 um 3:10 am

These little chocolate cakes look so yummy, but your photographs are a FEAST for the eyes! Beautiful presentation!!! I'm awestruck and inspired! 🙂

Clare @ Mrs Multitasker April 3, 2010 um 5:26 am

This is so beautiful. And that's great it's gluten free! Will pass it along to a friend who's allergic to gluten…

Y April 3, 2010 um 2:31 pm

Delicious post! While I'm not gluten intolerant, I love experimenting with different flours and sweeteners, so am looking forward to trying this recipe 🙂

my little expat kitchen April 3, 2010 um 6:05 pm

It's always interesting knowing one's process of writing a post. Beautiful photographs… beautiful chocolate cakes!

Chocolate Freckles April 5, 2010 um 2:07 am

Ohhhhh my these look amazing!! what a great idea to entertain!!!

Botacook April 5, 2010 um 10:13 am

Ces mini-cakes au chocolat sont super mimi et appétissants, et la présentation est magnifique, comme toujours!

Julia @Mélanger April 6, 2010 um 4:25 am

Chocolate is my weakness. I must make these. And if I then post about them? Well, not sure what I would write. I have no process!

The Urban Baker April 14, 2010 um 4:30 pm

Your photos, your props, your uncanny ability to use your light source, simply…PERFECTION.

I am in awe. And I may even try these gluten free delights.


Amanda April 27, 2010 um 2:24 am

This is something I am going to make. I am sooo glad that you are presenting Gluten free/wheat free recipes. I have been placed on this (plus lots of other foods that I can not eat)diet. I am amazed at how much there isn't for special diets. I Thank you so much for sharing your recipes with us! ~~ Amanda in KS

Foodie June 12, 2010 um 2:22 am

Hi there!

I was just wondering if it were possible to replace all the gluten-free flours with a gluten-free all-purpose flour? What kind of difference would that make and would it taste alright? Thanks so much for your wonderful blog 🙂

Helene June 12, 2010 um 6:32 am

Foodie: I am not sure I understand your question, as there is not "one" all purpose GF flour, which is why we combine a few. You can certainly pre-mix all the flours in large quantity and keep them in a jar, creating a sort of GD baking mix if you like.

Yvonne June 30, 2010 um 1:04 pm

I made this with a friend, just for the fun of it. It's so easy, and the result had us swooning in chocolatey bliss. It's not too sweet either (we used 85% coca chocolate), but very rich in aroma. LOVE THIS. Thank you so much for the receipe 😀

Bernadette October 1, 2011 um 7:33 pm

Oh GOD, so delish!!! <3 Just finished them – so smooth and soft, not too sweet either, although I had to use chocolate with 50% cocoa. I think about serving them with selfmade blueberry jam or a bit of mousse; just great!

Swarna June 5, 2012 um 5:06 am

Can I use 2 cups JeannF mix instead?

Helene June 5, 2012 um 3:58 pm

Swarna: Absolutely. I have not tried this recipe with her mix but I don't see why not!

Sini November 20, 2012 um 7:15 am

I came home from work 8:30 pm and was craving some comfort. So I made a patch of your chocolate cakes. Thank you for the comforting moment on the sofa with a piece of chocolate cake.

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