I feel like there’s a lot of hugs that need to be given out lately due to the state of things.
I, like you, have been heartbroken over the pictures I’ve seen of Houston and it’s new watery state. Apparently it’s the worst flooding an American city has ever seen (maybe don’t quote me on that, I just read it in the news) and it's absolutely incredible to see the damage that mother nature can do in such a short period of time. It’s also made me choke back tears when I read about other Texans coming down to Huston with their boats to rescue fellow Texans from the storm.
Sometimes you read things that give you goosebumps and this was one of those things.
Remember when I talked about two of my best girlfriends? Well one of those friends just moved to Northern Texas and she offered to go buy supplies for a shelter close to her and if people were interested in participating, they could venmo her money. No amount was too small. She got such an overwhelming response she couldn't believe it and had to take multiple trips to Costco just because her car was too full to lug it all in one go. On this HUGE pile of supplies (food, diapers etc.) she placed a name from each person who donated so people could see how many were behind the bounty. It was another goosebumps thing.
Tragedy can bring out the best in people (or the worst in people) but we’ve seen a whole lot of good happening in Texas and quite frankly it’s made me want to be a Texan.
Which brings me to my next big news. While we are not Texans, we are officially Californians again. Yup! We’ve moved back! I KNOW. (Just in case you didn’t know, we moved to Utah last summer for my husband's job and now we’re back. I give more details on our story to my sweet subscribers. If you're interested in becoming one, sign up here. )
The move back here happened as suddenly as it seems. Life literally changed for us from one day to the next with a phone call. And while we terribly miss my brother and sister and their families, we’re thrilled to be back. We've quite literally JUST came back. So yay!
All week I couldn’t help but think of how grateful I am to be able to lay my baby down in a dry, safe bed and think of how quick and fragile life is. I've undoubtably kissed Myles every single minute he's been in my arms and told him I love him at least a million times a day.
Seeing how people's homes have been ripped from them in Huston is a good reminder that even though it's heartbreaking and something I don't wish on anyone ever, it is for the most part, just stuff. We can live without stuff. We can live without our homes. It's our people we need.
Today (Sunday when I wrote this) is a day we've been urged nationally to pray for Houston (and Louisiana!). So if you're up for it, say a prayer for those who did lose their people. And if you, like me, are fortunate to still have your people, give them so many hugs and tell them you love them so many times they'll think something's wrong with you. Life is so short.
Love you friends.
really chocolaty flourless chocolate cake (gluten-free)
I've made a lot of flourless chocolate cakes in my life. I've actually made a lot of flourless cakes this past week, and this recipe, is undoubtably the best (at least for now). My people could not get enough of it. It's slightly gooey, bittersweet and super rich - almost like an undercooked brownie, only 10 times better. I lathered it up in ice cream for the photos sake because my sweet baby boy decided to stick his tender fingers right in the middle of it after it had cooled (I guess that's what I get for having him on the counter with me haha). After the first bite he went "hmm" and did a little dance. Then when he reached to stick his fingers back in it, I couldn't stop him. It was just too cute.
bakers note: It's okay to under bake this slightly in my book, but make sure you grease the pan and line it with parchment or it WILL stick. Also, the ingredients for this recipe very much stayed true to the original recipe but I switched up the method just a bit.
½ cup / 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 large eggs
¾ cup / 150g granulated sugar
½ cup / 50g unsweetened cocoa powder (see my resource note below)
¼ teaspoon salt
1 to 2 teaspoons espresso powder or coffee extract (see resource note below)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup / 175g semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
½ cup / 120ml heavy cream
Preheat oven to 350°F / 180°C. Grease an 8" cake pan or 8" spring form pan with butter, parchment and cocoa powder. So first lather the pan in butter, line the bottom (and sides if you so choose) with parchment paper, grease the parchment again with butter and then dust with cocoa powder until bottom and sides are coated. Butter + parchment + butter + cocoa = greased properly.
Melt chocolate and butter together over very low heat until combined. Turn off your heat early, before you have all the bits melted, to ensure your chocolate doesn't get overheated. Set aside to cool.
In an electric mixer whisk your eggs together until they become light and frothy they should look kind of like a weak bubble bath. Beat for about 5-8 minutes. (You really can't over beat your eggs here so don't worry.)
Sift cocoa through a sieve into a separate medium size bowl. Combine cocoa with sugar.
In the cooled chocolate, slowly fold in some of your fluffy egg mixture. Then add some of your cocoa + sugar mixture (about a scant ¼ of a cup at a time) alternating the egg mixture and the cocoa mixture until combined. You should start and end with the egg mixture.
Pour batter in prepared cake pans and bake for 20-25 minutes. Cake will have formed kind of a crust on top, and very very slightly pulled away from the edges of the pan. If you insert a toothpick, it won't come out clean. This is a dense cake. King Arthur Flour suggests that the temperature inside the cake will read 200 degrees, but I found that my cake was ready to take out of the oven before it reached that exact temperature.
Let the cake cool in it's pan for another 15 minutes. If you used a spring form pan you can take it out much easier than if you use a regular cake pan. If you used an 8" cake pan (like me) you can either cut around the edges and pray that the cake will come out, or you can flip it over so the top of the cake becomes the bottom of the cake.
If you want to make the glaze, heat cream to a simmer and pour over your chocolate. Let it sit a minute and then stir to melt and combine. Slather that goodness on top of the cake. I didn't do this, but I have had a version with the glaze and it is chocolate heaven.
Serve with ice cream, whipped cream or milk. And maybe some fresh berries. Whatever you do, don't let your people eat this without something to counterbalance that chocolaty goodness.
I used this all natural coffee flavoring in place of the espresso power, but I love King Arthur's espresso powder. I LOVE Nielsen Massey's coffee extract, but I've been out of it lately. All work great, with my bias leaning a little more towards the powder and the extract than the flavoring.