Sex is a natural human desire. Eating sweets and comfort food is also a natural human desire – especially cake! It is the perfect combination of sweet and flavorful. The combination is perfect for a celebration, as comfort food, and even just for a quick treat. This especially rings true for a cake that is known as “Better Than Sex” cake. Also known as Robert Redford cake, this delicious, flourless cake if full of chocolate, nuts, and cream and will have you coming back for more. But first, let’s delve a bit into the science behind baking a cake.
Science Versus Art
Cooking is an art form. When cooking, you do not necessarily need to follow a recipe for your dish to turn out perfectly; in fact, it is recommended that you play around with different ingredients in a recipe to get the dish of your dreams. This is not true with baking. Baking is scientific. If you use your ingredients in a way that is out of proportion with the recipe, overwork your batter, or over- or under-cook your creation, you will likely be disappointed.
In a cake, each ingredient plays a vital role. Baking powder and baking soda are responsible for getting the batter to rise, and eggs keep the ingredients together. Flour creates the structure of the cake. Butter and oil are in charge of tenderizing the cake. Milk, water, or other liquids give a cake moisture. The all-important sugar is, of course, responsible for sweetening a cake.
Have you ever followed a cake recipe and wondered why you need to dirty two bowls: one for the wet ingredients and one for the dry ingredients? The answer is simple. Each dry ingredient is going to seek out moisture when you mix in the wet ingredients. If the dry ingredients do not get an equal distribution of moisture, your batter will clump, and you might over-mix it. Over mixing breaks down the gluten molecules and your cake will not hold together.
Fun fact: You should store your cakes at room temperature. Storing them in the refrigerator will cause them to go stale more rapidly.
About Better Than Sex Cake
In all truthfulness, many cakes can be considered better than sex, but there is only one cake named this because of its irresistible flavor. Also known as Robert Redford cake, this recipe apparently dates to the 1970s. As with most cakes named after celebrities, the Robert Redford Cake was reportedly enjoyed by the actor in a Manhattan restaurant where Maida Heatter was the lucky baker who made it. You too can enjoy Maida Heatter’s recipe if you follow along.
- 1.5 sticks of unsalted butter, reserve the second half of the stick to grease your pan
- Flour to dust your cake pan
- 1 cup of blanched hazelnuts
- 12 ounces of semisweet chocolate
- ½ cup of honey
- 10 separated eggs
- ¼ teaspoon of salt
Baking the Cake
Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line your cake pan with parchment paper and butter it. Use flour to dust your pan, and shake out any excess. Grind the nuts into a fine powder using your food processor. Set these to the side while you melt your semisweet chocolate in a double boiler on medium heat. Put your melted chocolate in a mixing bowl and allow it to cool.
Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until it becomes softened. Slowly add the honey and beat the mixture until smooth. Next, you can add your egg yolks, two at a time, beating after each pair. After all the egg yolks are mixed in, you can now add the nuts and chocolate to the mixture.
Put your egg whites and salt into a separate bowl, and beat them until they form soft peaks. Working in batches, fold the beaten egg whites into the chocolate and nut mixture. Finally, pour the mixture into your greased cake pan and bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, reduce your oven’s temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for an additional 50 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool.
But wait! What is a cake without frosting?
Making the Frosting
There is a complementary frosting for this cake that is relatively simple to make. Barely bring ¾ of a cup of heavy cream to a simmer over medium heat. You should notice a skin forming on top. At this point, add 12 ounces of semisweet chocolate and reduce the heat to low. Stir this mixture constantly until the chocolate is melted and the frosting is smooth. Once your cake has cooled, you can pour the frosting, spread and serve.