A few months ago, Jeff ordered a new wireless controller for the PlayStation. Then the old one started working. For me, this meant we should return the new controller or sell one on eBay. For Jeff, this meant that we had a backup.

Did we really need a backup?

Friends, did America really need to declare its independence?

So, we kept both.

During the course of our first move together, I realized we had backups for many, many things. Music. Movies. Ponchos. Silverware. Part of me feels very loved and secure when I see my computer-geek husband backing up the hard drives and making sure I don’t lose my entire iTunes collection. Again. But the other part of me – the part with a Shaker-like hatred of clutter – sees duplicates and wants to exterminate them. Thank God, twins don’t run in the family.

Before we move, I ask Jeff one more time if he’s going to sell the extra controller.

No, it’s still good to have a backup.

Why? Is one going to be raptured? Get trapped under a tree? Run off with a poncho?

Sunday night, the dog started trying to play with the cat by barking in his face and pouncing at him. So, the cat responded by baring his claws and lunging at the dog … who ran into the table and knocked over a stack of magazines … which slid into a glass of water … which spilled onto the new PlayStation controller.

And Jeff looks at me, like, NOW, aren’t you glad we have a backup?

Somewhere, he’s got a petri dish full of my stem cells. I just know it.

This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe is Blueberry Sour Cream Ice Cream, chosen by Dolores of Chronicles in Culinary Curiosity. I’m allergic to blueberries, but fortunately TWD offered a backup plan: doing a recipe from the archives. So, I finally completed the Almost-Fudge Gateau.

When the cake comes out of the oven, it isn’t much to look at. Plain. A little dumpy. Schlumpadinka. But the flavor … It’s almost flourless, so the chocolate flavor is intense, and the cake stays moist for days. Glam it up with Dorie Greenspan’s optional chocolate glaze, or top it with a scoop of ice cream.

In fact, do both. It’s nice to have backup.

Almost-Fudge Gateau

Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s “Baking: From My Home to Yours”

  • 5 large eggs
  • 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 2 tablespoons coffee or water
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt

  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (regular or gluten-free)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, butter the paper, dust the inside of the pan with flour, and tap out the excess. Place the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.
  2. Separate the eggs, putting the whites in a large bowl and the yolks in a small bowl.
  3. Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, and add the chocolate, sugar, butter and coffee. Stir occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are melted. Transfer the bowl to the counter, and let the mixture sit for 3 minutes.
  4. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the yolks, one by one, then fold in the flour.
  5. Using a mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites with the pinch of salt until they hold firm, glossy peaks. Using the spatula, stir about one quarter of the beaten whites into the batter, then gently fold in the rest. Scrape the butter into the pan, and jiggle the pan from side to side to even the batter.
  6. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the cake has risen evenly (it might rise around the edges, and you’ll think it’s done, but give it a few minutes, and the center will puff, too) and the top has firmed (it will probably be cracked) and doesn’t shimmy when tapped; a thin knife inserted into the center should come out just slightly streaked with chocolate. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack, and let the cake rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
  7. Run a blunt knife gently around the edges of the cake, and remove the sides of the pan. Carefully turn the cake over onto a rack, and remove the pan bottom and the parchment paper. Invert the cake onto another rack, and cool to room temperature right side up. (As the cake cools, it may sink.)
  8. For the Glaze: First, turn the cooled cake over onto another rack, so you’ll be glazing the flat bottom, and place the rack over a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper to catch any drips.
  9. Put the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl. Melt the chocolate in a microwave or over a pan of simmering water.
  10. Meanwhile, bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, and stir very gently with a rubber spatula until the mixture is smooth and shiny.
  11. Stir in the corn syrup.
  12. Pour the glaze over the cake, and smooth the top with a long metal icing spatula. Allow the glaze to set at room temperature, or slip the cake into the refrigerator for about 20 minutes. If the glaze dulls in the fridge, give it a little gentle heat from a hairdryer.