Moist and rich chocolate gateau (chocolate cake), dusted with powdered sugar and garnished with raspberries.
Chocolate Gateau for Valentines Day
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!
Valentine’s Day in Japan
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 girlfriends) are called “Tomo Choko” (友チョコ).
- Chocolates for the 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 the late 1970s by the National Confectionery Industry Association (according to wiki). Men return gifts like jewelry, 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!
Chocolate Gateau (Chocolate Cake)
- 6 ½ Tbsp unsalted butter
- ½ Tbsp unsalted butter (for greasing)
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour (plain flour) (plus more for dusting; If you're using a cup measurement, please follow this method to measure. Otherwise, the amount of flour tends to be more than you need.)
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (measure 1 cup and remove 1 Tbsp to be precise; 1 cup cocoa powder is 80-85 g)
- 5.3 oz semi-sweet chocolate bar (use good quality chocolate)
- 4 large eggs (50 g each w/o shell) (cold; please note that I decided to reduce one egg after taking the ingredient picture, which shows 5 eggs)
- ⅛ tsp kosher/sea salt (I use Diamond Crystal; use half for table salt)
- ¾ cup sugar (¾ cup + 2 ½ Tbsp to be precise; roughly divided in half)
- ¼ cup heavy (whipping) cream (4 Tbsp)
- confectioners’ sugar/powdered sugar
- Gather all the ingredients.
- Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC). For a convection oven, reduce cooking temperature by 25ºF (15ºC). Butter an 8-inch (20 cm) baking pan. Dust the inside of the pan with flour and tap out the excess. I recommend using a 6-7 inch (15-18 cm) cake pan for a taller cake than mine.
- Line the bottom with parchment paper, butter the paper, dust the paper with flour and tap out the excess.
- Combine the flour and cocoa powder and sift, set aside.
- Cut the chocolate bar into small pieces and set aside.
- Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (140ºF/60ºC) and add the chocolate. Stir occasionally until the chocolate is melted. Make sure not to introduce any oil or moisture to the bowl; otherwise, the chocolate will seize.
- 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 salt. Working with the whisk attachment of the mixer, beat the egg whites until they are foamy and start adding half of the sugar (90 g) 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 the sugar (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 into 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 the cake at 375ºF (190ºC) for 10 minutes. Then reduce the temperature to 340ºF (170ºC) 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 cool completely. As the cake cools, it may deflate a bit.
- Run a knife along the edges of the cake and carefully turn the cake over onto a plate or cake stand. Decorate the cake with raspberry and dust the powdered sugar before serving.
- You can keep the leftovers in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for a month.