I LOVE Amanda Hesser’s Essential New York Times cookbook.
My best friend from high school helped with the recipe testing for the book, so I eagerly awaited its release and snapped up a copy as soon as it appeared at Bi-Rite. The genius of this cookbook is that it’s crowdsourced–Amanda had Times readers write in with their favorite recipes from the Times over the years, tallied up the results, and painstakingly tested and refined each recipe. It’s become my go-to for classic American dishes like brownies — I made some for a friend’s Super Bowl party with our Madagascar chocolate, Alter Eco’s spectacular mascobado sugar, and Marin Sun Farms duck eggs that were so well received that I made them again the next day for the Dandelion crew, the general consensus being ZOMG BEST BROWNIES EVERRRR.
This time I made a buttermilk chocolate cake, a recipe from San Francisco’s very own Campton Place that was published in the Times in 1986.
Step 1: a contrived glamor shot for the ingredients, the stars of the show
Step 2: melt some chocolate and sift some flour and mix stuff and whatnot
Step 3: !?!?where’s my phone how could I forget to photograph this IT WAS THE WHOLE POINT
Step 4: whip up some egg whites in a copper bowl, because choosy chefs choose copper
Step 5: are these peaks stiff yet?
Step 6: SRSLY, my arm is falling off
Step 7: how stiff do they need to be anyway?
Step 8: gently fold the egg whites into the melted chocolate, butter, buttermilk, sugar, and egg yolks
Step 13: frost that cake!
Step 14: Mmmmmmm