What to Cook: Bake Cake


World’s best chocolate cake.

Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

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Good morning. Yotam Ottolenghi has a new book coming out with his baking partner Helen Goh, “Sweet.” It’s ridiculously beautiful just like all his books, and filled with delicious recipes, same. I’m excited to have a kind of preview of it in The Times this week, with Yotam writing about how he and Helen came together to bake and write, along with a couple of recipes.

You may well want to make their recipe for a pistachio and rose water semolina cake in coming days. You will almost certainly want to make their recipe for the world’s best chocolate cake (above) right away.

Not that you should always cook with recipes. I don’t, on Wednesdays, and particularly Wednesdays this time of year, when all you really have to do is find some late-season corn and steam it, then serve it with butter – or mayonnaise, cotija cheese and chili powder. If you can’t find corn, there are certainly still good tomatoes around. I like those sliced and planked with mozzarella and basil leaves, drizzled with olive oil, salt and a few drops of balsamic vinegar. Shards of Parmesan, a few slices of soppressata, some toasted bread on the side? Keep it simple. You’ve got a cake to bake!

If you must follow direct instruction, maybe try David Tanis’s new recipe for simple grilled sardines? And if you have access to a fig tree – like, say, the one growing fecund and huge in front of that house near the subway station on the way home – you can nab a wide leaf off it on which to rest the fish after you’ve grilled one side. (Ask the homeowner for permission to harvest the leaf, please.) It looks great, yes, but also adds a remarkable hit of fruitiness to the flesh.

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