Chocolate may be sweet, but it’s best when dark, right?
Fernanda Garcia is a freelancer who offers her studied expertise in psychology in between baking amazing creations such as torta de beterragas organicas (a chocolate cake accented with organic beets) or cheesecake de comote y naranja (sweet potato and orange cheesecake).
Oh, and she is a horror-flick buff, as evident in the collection of Chucky dolls and other recognizable scary villains that lurk in key-chain form behind her collection of antique tea cups. Just like a healthy diet, it’s good to have a balance.
Running her self-made baking business, Olivia Tortas, out of her quaint yet picture perfect apartment, Fernanda doesn’t yet see a need to open an official store. Although she does admit it is a dream of hers to have a small cafe with a few tables and chairs for customers to sit and savor a warm slice of cake or pie. For now, thanks to social media and, largely, word of mouth, she bakes on average 6 to 7 cakes to order – a week.
A self-proclaimed perfectionist, Fernanda does her own simple yet elegant packaging: typically brown boxes with hemp twine and fresh flowers.
At her side at all times, her small notebook with handwritten notes and recipes is a combination of internet research and the results of trial and error since she began baking as a young girl, practicing alongside her grandmother.
_(Photo: Living in Peru/Erick Andia)_
“Sometimes I try something out and it ends up great…other times, not so much. I’ve had to dump baking ‘experiments’ directly in the trash,” says Fernanda, cooly. And it seems that this sense of research and development is a large part of baking as she reveals a few of her baking secrets to _Living in Peru_ – ones that don’t appear in the standard instructions of a cookbook.
One of her tips: use organic eggs and chocolate, for a richer flavor. As well, use seasonal fruits, best found at local bioferias.
And why Oliva? “If I have a daughter, that’s the name I’d like to give her.”
Fernanda shares the following recipe with _Living in Peru_ readers. Don’t be fooled by the short list of ingredients – the cake’s deep and rich chocolate flavor is sure to impress.
Dark Chocolate Cake
170 gr. bitter chocolate
80 gr. unsalted butter
100 gr. sugar
30 gr. flour
cocoa for dusting
1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease (with butter) and flour a round mold.
2. Mix the eggs with the sugar until the mixture has tripled in volume and acquired a spongy texture. Set aside.
3. Place the butter and chocolate in the double broiler and slowly stir the mixture until smooth.
4. Incorporate the chocolate (now a thick sauce) to the egg mixture with a stirring motion.
5. Add sifted flour and salt, folding into the mixture.
6. Bake on middle rack of oven for 25 minutes.
Sprinkle with cocoa powder and enjoy warm!
To balance the bitter chocolate, or for added sweetness, serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
_If you’d like to place an order, it is recommended to do so a few day’s in advance._