Valentine’s Day is just around the corner!
I can’t wait to share this delicious Chocolate Gateau, also known as gâteau au chocolat (ガトーショコラ) that I made over the weekend. Indulge yourself with this rich, dense, yet moist, melt-in-your mouth chocolate cake. It’s utterly divine!
Speaking of Valentine’s Day, I thought I should share how we celebrate this day in Japan as it’s a bit different from the U.S. Valentine’s Day was first introduced to Japan in 1936 by the confectionery company Morozoff. Other confectionery companies started promoting this holiday in the 1950s.
In Japan, it is only the women who give gifts (mainly chocolates, like Nama Chocolate) to men as an expression of love, courtesy, or social obligation. This custom was originated from the translation error of a chocolate company (according to wiki). Unlike western countries, gifts like greeting cards, candies, flowers, or dinner dates are uncommon on Valentine’s Day in Japan.
In Japan, many women feel obligated to give chocolates to male bosses and co-workers. This tradition is known as “Giri-Choko” (義理チョコ), meaning obligation (giri) chocolate (choko). In addition to “Giri Choko”, chocolates are also given to family and others.
- The chocolate that women give to their loved one is called “Honmei Choko” (本命チョコ).
- Chocolates for friends (including girl friends) are called “Tomo Choko” (友チョコ).
- Chocolates for family are called “Fami Choko” (ファミチョコ).
When I was living in Japan, a lot of female school children and young adults chose this day to tell the boy/man about their affection. Even girls who were usually too shy to express their feelings took advantage of Valentine’s Day as a great opportunity to express their love (does it sound like I’m talking about my experience? Maybe!). If you are familiar with Japanese culture, dramas and mangas, I’m sure you have seen the “declaring love” (kokuhaku 告白) scene on Valentine’s Day.
By the way, while the rest of the world moves on to the next holiday, Valentine’s Day won’t be over yet in Japan. A month later, March 14th is “White Day”, a day when men are supposed to return gifts to women. White Day was first introduced in late 1970s by the National Confectionery Industry Association (according to wiki). Men return gifts like jewelery, white chocolate, candies, and cookies.
Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day or not, this moist, dark, and crumbly Chocolate Gateau with a nice cocoa punch will make everyone happy. If you prefer a more chocolatey flavor, you can apply fudgy frosting or chocolate ganache. I like my cake to be simple and less sweet so I decorate the cake with fresh raspberries and powdered sugar on top. After refrigerating the cake for one day, I microwaved a slice for 20 seconds and served it with vanilla ice cream. The result was just fabulous: warm moist chocolate cake with the delicate chilled flavor of vanilla.
Hope you and your loved ones enjoy this cake!
- 90 grams/3.2 oz (7 Tbsp.) unsalted butter
- ½ Tbsp. unsalted butter for greasing
- 30 grams/1.1 oz (1/3 cup minus 1 Tbsp.) all-purpose flour
- All-purpose flour for dusting
- 75 grams/2.6 oz (1 cup minus 1 Tbsp.) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 150 gram/5.4 oz good quality semi-sweet chocolate
- 4 cold eggs (I decided to reduce an egg after taking the ingredient picture)
- A pinch of salt
- 180 grams/6.3 oz (2/3 cup + ¼ cup) granulated sugar
- 60 grams/60 ml heavy whipping cream
- Raspberry for garnish
- Powder sugar
- Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190C). Butter an 8-inch baking pan, dust the inside of the pan with flour, and tap out the excess.
- Line the bottom with parchment paper, butter the paper, dust the paper with flour and tap out the excess. Set aside.
- Combine the flour and cocoa powder and sift, set aside.
- Chop chocolates into small pieces and set aside.
- Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (140F/60C) and add the chocolate. Stir occasionally until the chocolate is melted.
- Add the coarsely chopped butter and let it melted completely. Transfer the bowl to the counter and let the mixture cool.
- Separate the cold eggs, putting the whites in a mixer bowl or other large bowl and the yolks in a small bowl.
- While the chocolate is cooling, place the egg whites in a clean bowl with a pinch of salt. Working with the whisk attachment of the mixer, beat the egg whites until they are foamy and start adding half of the sugar (3oz/90g) in 2-3 separate additions.
- Continue to beat on high speed until stiff peaks form and sugar is dissolved (about 5 min total). To test for stiff peaks, the peaks should stand straight up when you lift up the beaters. The whites should not slide around. Transfer the meringue into a bowl and wash the mixing bowl for next step.
- In the clean mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks and the rest of sugar (3oz/90g) until creamy and stir in the heavy whipping cream.
- With a rubber spatula stir the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture.
- Then add the flour and cocoa powder into the mixture.
- Using the spatula, stir about ⅓ of the meringue in to the batter, then gently fold in the rest until the color is uniform.
- Pour the batter into the pan and give the pan several sharp taps on the counter to bring up any air bubbles that may be trapped in the batter.
- Bake at 375 degrees F (190C) for 10 minutes and then lower the setting to 340 degrees F (170F) and bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick pulls out moist crumbs when inserted near the center of the cake. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let the cake rest for 15 minutes.
- Run a knife along the edges of the cake and carefully turn the cake over onto a rack and remove the pan and the parchment paper. Invert the cake onto a serving platter before serving. As the cake cools, it may deflate a bit. Decorate with raspberry and dust the powder sugar before serving.