Plain whipped cream is fine, but a cake this rich begs for a topping spiked with bright, balancing flavors. And making those tweaks to your typical whipped topping is easy. Try a TANGY DAIRY variation by mixing 1 cup heavy cream, 1⁄4 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream and 11⁄2 tablespoons powdered sugar until uniform and frothy, then whip until soft peaks form. ALTERNATIVE SUGARS also are an option: Mix 1 cup heavy cream and 1 tablespoon light brown sugar until smooth, then whip until soft peaks form. Or better yet, something BOOZY: Mix 1 cup heavy cream, 11⁄2 tablespoons powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon kirsch or orange liqueur until uniform, then whip as usual.
When it comes to chocolate desserts, often the fudgier, the better. But achieving that perfect texture can be surprisingly tricky.
So for a lesson in baking up perfectly gooey chocolate cakes, we looked to Sweden, where a staple of afternoon fika—or coffee break—is kladd kaka, or “sticky cake.” The brownielike treat balances crisp edges with a soft interior just shy of molten. Equally appealing is its simplicity, calling for just a handful of ingredients that need little more than a good stir before going into the oven
The only trick? Mastering how long to bake it. Underbake it, and the cake will be runny; over bake it, and it will be unpleasantly dry. So we set out to create a version of kladdkaka that bakes up flawlessly gooey every time.
We started by adjusting the ratio of ingredients in the batter. Reducing the amount of flour and cocoa powder while adding more eggs and butter went a long way to ensuring we got the finished texture we wanted. Next, we tweaked our baking strategy: While recipes for kladdkaka often call for cranking up the oven and baking the cake for just a few minutes, we found that the opposite approach—cooking the cake at a relatively low 325°F for a full 30 minutes—gave us better control over the texture.
After that, it was simply a matter of finetuning the flavors. Browning the butter gave the recipe depth, while replacing white sugar with brown added complex, caramel notes without increasing the already-svelte ingredient list.
With that, we’d found the formula for a simple chocolate cake that’s easy, elegant and—most importantly—reliably gooey.
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