Full disclosure, I had zero idea why Pharrell was so burnt out and in need of a catch-up. I assumed being a Grammy Award winning, Academy Award nominee was enough to be exhausted?
Turns out, it wasn’t the entire story.
Pha-Pha, as I call him, arrived straight off the plane from LA late last night completely spent after a gruelling season on The Voice. After two hours of him explaining to me that he wasn’t talking about the Australian version and that I needed to put down the knife and relax, he fell into my arms, exhausted and looking for the comfort of a true friend.
I first met Pharrell
in the 1700s in the 90s as a founding member of N*E*R*D. Despite being ejected from the band after it was discovered I thought it was a fetish dating site, Pha-Pha took me under his wing as his immortal business protege before I eventually became a muse. Fun fact, the drawing scene from Titanic was inspired by the moment I entered into his … muse-dom?
Needless to say, I’ve played a crucial part in all of Relly’s future successes and have been his go to person. I’m the Yang to his Grey, if that is still a thing – I don’t know, I gave up after Izzie cut the damn LVAD and Snow Patrol became a thing in the mainstream.
Also, is Snow Patrol a band or a barbershop quartet consisting of Mr Plow and the Plow King?
But I’ve digressed.
Rel dropped by after wrapping the US version of The Voice (produced by my dear pal Mark Burnett) where – I shit you not / *spoiler alert* – Curly Sue took the crown. Sadly his contestant, Hannah … Horvath (? – I assume it is a characters of fiction edition) could only snag third, despite a stellar finale performance.
Needless to say, he is a sensitive soul and was taking the loss very hard meaning the only thing that could cure his mood and turn his frown upside down, was my Japharrell Cake.
While Jaffas are the worst coated chocolate treat, this cake is off the hook. Maybe it is the inclusion of blood orange oil – rather than its generic sibling orange oil – but the moist, bitter chocolate cake combined with the tang of the citrus is something to behold. Plus, it melts in your mouth and quite literally, is dripping in ganache (if you’re too lazy to let it set/cool, like I am).
200ml blood orange oil
70g valrhona cocoa powder (sifted)
165ml boiling water
2 ½ tsp vanilla extract
200g almond meal
¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda
pinch of salt
265g caster sugar
4 large eggs
225g dark chocolate, 70% solids or more
1 cup heavy cream
pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 170°C and grease a 20cm springform pan with some olive oil and the base with baking paper.
Place the cocoa powder in a small bowl and whisk with the boiling water until smooth. Add in the vanilla extract and leave to cool.
Combine the almond meal, bicarb and salt in a large bowl.
In the large bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sugar, oil and eggs and mix with the paddle attachment on high speed for about 5 minutes. Reduce the speed and pour in the cooled cocoa mixture. When combined, add the almond meal in slowly.
Scrape down the sides, pour the mixture into the pan and bake for 45 minutes or until the cake is set but with a nice moist centre.
Moist – I love that word.
When it is ready, allow to cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes before removing the sides from the pan. Then leave to cool completely (unless you can’t like me).
While the cake is cooling, start on the ganache by bring the cream to the boil over medium heat. While the cream is getting all hot and bothered, break up the chocolate in a medium bowl.
When the cream is hot, pour it over the chocolate, add a pinch of salt and leave to stand for five minutes.
Five minutes later – and I mean that – whisk the cream and chocolate until combined and smooth. Allow to stand for a further 15 minutes, stirring ocassionally, before pouring over the cake and smoothing it out.
Obviously I didn’t wait for either to cool or set, resulting in the puddle cake … which was still delicious, FYI.