Katerina’s Birthday Chocolate Cake
This is Katerina.
Katerina is from Greece and guess what: she adores cooking. Watching her celebrate her kitchen feels similar to seeing a dancer perform their flowy magic on stage. Katerina is in her element when seasoning dishes with a skilled hand or whisking together ingredients to bake a chocolatey chocolate cake (this cake will appear at the bottom of this page so please do get excited!).
Katerina loves to treat people; she is an extremely present, mindful host. While talking to you she also has her eyes on your glass, regularly checking if you need a top-up, but never not hearing what you say. And you can only expect the best quality of ingredients: she grew up in a village in Greece, knows the aromatic scent of locally pressed olive oil, recognizes the perfect ripeness of seasonal fruits and the freshness of herbs. She values good cuisine and honest food. I have been to Greece before and there I learned that Greek culture involves a strong bond to food. Food is home to them, it is tradition and this leads to a strong sense of cultural belonging and identification through foods.
The coffee I was served while chatting about food and cooking (I mean, come on, what else would we be talking about) was traditional Greek coffee: the pot with which it’s made is called briki and the coffee tasted like proper Greek coffee should: dark and intense (in the best possible way). I felt very welcome in her home, not only by her but also by her housemate Georgios, her partner Andreas and her cat Kika (I am not much of a cat person but Kika is a kind one). Greek hospitality is just lovely and oh, so delicious!
I visited Katerina on her birthday so the kitchen was ON FIRE! She had various pots and pans filled with Greek goodies, had many fresh vegetables and meats stocked in her just-big-enough fridge and she was more than ready to invite me to her stove and allow me to document it all. She made a variety of Greek-inspired dishes that day and I will show you exactly what they were:
Meat and Cheese Platter with Fresh Berries
This platter was a great welcoming starter for her birthday guests, including my hungry self. I am a flexitarian which means that I mainly eat vegan and or/vegetarian food, but I am definitely in for occasional good quality cheese and nice serrano ham. In combination with crisp cherry tomatoes and fresh berries, this was just mouthwatering!
Mustard-Lemon-Stuffed Chicken Pies
Oh, protect me from this batch because these little chicken pies are seriously addictive. The tangy mustard together with some fruity lemon is the perfect combination and even though I am not much of a meat-eater, I really enjoyed the chicken. The seasoning was perfect so that each parcel was a journey through your senses. Hopefully, she’ll soon make these again!
Ntakos with Kalamata Olives
Ntakos is a Greek side dish that consists of paximadia and a spread made with tomatoes, oregano, feta and olive oil. Paximadia is dehydrated bread that was very cheap to make and store during wars. It is still a big part of Greek cuisine and can be found in many tavernas as a starter or salad. It is often eaten as a cold platter but can also be served as breakfast; no rules apply. The rusks are first moistened with some water and later on topped with grated tomato, crumbled feta cheese and myzithra (Greek soft cheese). The last step (obviously) involves a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of oregano – what can I say, the result was delicious!
and last but not least, the star of today’s show (next to the lovely host of course):
Katarina’s infamously rich Birthday Chocolate Cake
Maybe you can already tell from these photos but this chocolate cake is the richest, moistest, chocolatiest (is that a word?) cake I have ever tasted! Katerina managed to squeeze in as much chocolate as possible, featuring 90% dark chocolate that she melted and 100% cocoa powder to dust with. There are also eggs, butter and raw cane sugar inside, but no flour! A flourless moist chocolate cake, what else could one possibly want? It isn’t the lightest, but definitely worth every bite of chocolate-heaven. She baked this chocolate cake for a few years in a row and her friends love it so much that it turned into her own birthday tradition. Let’s cut to the chase and talk recipes:
Prep Time: 30 min
Baking Time: 1 hr 20 min
Total Time: 1 hr 50 min
Servings: One lush, moist chocolate cake
For this chocolate cake you will need:
600 g dark chocolate couverture (90%)
6 medium eggs
3 egg yolks
240g raw cane sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
some cocoa powder
- Preheat the oven to 160ºC on fan mode.
- Use a bain marie to melt the butter with the chocolate (cut into chunks).
- In a bowl, add the eggs, yolks, sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Whisk until the sugar completely dissolves. Add the chocolate mixture with a spatula to the egg mixture. Stir until completely combined.
- Grease a springform with butter and dust with cocoa powder.
- Now it’s getting interesting: pour the mixture into a pan and cover with a sheet of aluminium foil. Make sure to cover it completely. Place springform into a larger baking pan lined with a towel so that the springform is stable. Fill the baking pan with boiling water until it reaches ¾ up the sides of the springform.
- Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes (anticipation is increasing!), until you can touch the center of the cake with your finger (get in there) and it is not sticky. Remove from oven and allow to cool (but not too much!). Remove from springform, cut into small pieces and serve while still warm, which will make many people happy but silent because they’re enjoying the tasty sensation!
Thank you for having me, Katerina, it was a blast, and not to forget scrumptiously delicious! As a last note, I want to add that Katerina is a very fitting name but I think that Greek Chocolate Goddess would be highly appropriate after the kitchen magic I’ve witnessed.
I mean, look at her:
Happy Birthday, Katerina, I am already looking forward to next year!
PS: I shall bake you a cake then. ♥