As luck would have it, while scrolling through some Associated Press news headlines on my iPhone (still in that mental fog between sleep and full consciousness), an article popped up with what may be the easiest chocolate cake recipe I've ever seen. Now I'm not much of a baker--that's more Lav's domain, given my lack of that all-important combination of precision and patience--but this seemed absolutely foolproof... and from an authority like Francois Payard, no less.
Sure enough, less than an hour later we were enjoying a proper breakfast of moist, rich chocolate cake and coffee.
CHARLIE'S AFTERNOON CHOCOLATE CAKE
from Francois Payard's "Chocolate Epiphany," 2008
Start to finish: 35 minutes (15 minutes active)
Servings: 8 to 10
baking spray (cooking spray blend of oil and flour)
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 ounces 60 percent cacao chocolate, chopped
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
Place a rack at the center of the oven. Heat the oven to 350 F. Use the baking spray to coat the sides and bottom of a 9-inch round springform pan.
In a small saucepan over medium-high, bring the butter to a boil, stirring several times to prevent it from burning. Remove the pan from the heat and add the chocolate, stirring until melted and smooth. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar. Add the flour and mix well. Add the chocolate and butter mixture, then mix only until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.
Bake the cake for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 300 F and bake for an additional 8 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and let cool completely in the pan. Unmold and serve.