Monday, October 09, 2006

Flourless Bittersweet Chocolate Cake

I’m here to give it to you straight. This cake is rich. Even serious chocoholics need only eat a sliver. With fresh, lightly sweetened whipped cream, it is utterly decadent. Bake this cake when you have an unmanageable itch for the deepest, darkest, truest chocolate taste. Make it when only expensive, bittersweet, 70% cocao chocolate - baked into a dense, fudgy dessert - will satisfy you.

I eat a very little bit of dark chocolate almost daily, but lately I have been craving something more. I made this cake as a sweet ending to a wonderful steak dinner that accompanied a bottle of soft, luscious Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon that Mike got for his birthday a couple months ago. The cake was so satisfying that the next day I could not even think about eating chocolate. Over 24 hours without even the slightest chocolate craving—that is the power of this cake.

Ever since I saw a similar flourless chocolate cake on the September cover of Bon Appetit, there has been a little devil on my shoulder urging me to start baking. When I took a close look at the actual recipe, I realized that it called for twice as much chocolate as other flourless cake recipes and might be too much for even me. The devil couldn’t convince me to go quite that far, so I read several other recipes and adapted one from Lisa Yockelson’s great book, Chocolate Chocolate.

Yockelson would have you separate the eggs, beat the whites and fold them into the batter to create an airier texture. That sounded lovely, but the chocolate devil and I wanted this cake to be dense and a little heavy. I used Scharffen Berger’s 70% cocao bittersweet chocolate in the cake. It has a complex flavor, almost alcoholic, that hinted to me of coffee and port.

The ganache is another unnecessary indulgence that I added to the recipe. You could skip it and dust the cake with powdered sugar or coco powder, but I like how the cake looks wrapped in this sleek cape of silky chocolate. I used Ghirardelli semisweet chocolate chips for the ganache in order to offset the intensity of the bittersweet chocolate in the cake. You have now been sufficiently warned—bake at your own risk.

Flourless Bittersweet Chocolate Cake
Adapted from Chocolate Chocolate by Lisa Yockelson
Serves 12-16

For Cake:
2/3 c. plus 2 tblsp. sugar
2 tblsp. cocao powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 stick butter
9 oz. good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract

For Ganache:
½ c. heavy whipping cream
4 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped if necessary

For Serving:
1 c. heavy whipping cream
1-2 tblsp. sugar, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the base of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper, cut to fit the pan. Butter the parchment and the sides of the pan.

Combine the sugar, cocoa and salt in a large bowl. Whisk the eggs with the vanilla and add to the bowl. Stir to combine. In medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the chocolate and whisk constantly until completely melted. Remove from heat. Add the chocolate to the sugar-egg mixture and whisk until completely combined. Batter should be thick and fairly smooth. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The cake will be firm and pulling away from the sides of the pan. Cool completely in pan.

To prepare the ganache, bring the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan. Add the chocolate and stir until completely melted and smooth. Pour the ganache over the cake, still inside the springform pan. Shake the pan to even out the ganache. Chill for 2 hours to set the ganache.

To serve, add the cream and sugar to a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer at medium speed to the desired consistency. Release the sides of the pan. Slide the cake with the parchment paper onto a serving platter and serve with the whipped cream.


Garrett said...

Ooooh! Yum! I recently had my first flourless cake and have overcome by prejudice. I want to try it again!

Erin S. said...

wowza, this looks great. My go-to flourless chocolate cake recipe comes from Nigella Lawson, but I may have to try this one next time. I love the ganache layer.

Ivonne said...


It looks so luscious and yummy!

peabody said...

Oh I just love flourless cake. It's the best.

Anonymous said...

*I’m speechless and am having a moment to recover*
this is absolutely perfection - I love it! =)

lobstersquad said...

wow. straight to the liver! love it

Julie said...

Oh, this is cruel!! I sneak a quick blog glance and this is what I find! It is 9:30 a.m. and I am sitting at my desk craving chocolate cake. I am a dark chocolate-aholic and this looks completely addictive.

Brilynn said...

I think I need to wait to have company to make this. No matter how rich, it looks too good for me to stop at just one slice.

krista said...

This looks really yummy! i have to try this one.

Mary said...

I have to remember not to look at food blogs when I'm hungry. That cake looks soooooo good!

Tim said...

Seriously it looks delicious. You have given me a project for the weekend. Does the frosting stay soft or go hard?

Julie said...

Brilynn--I totally respect your inability to stop at one slice.
Tim--I keep this cake in the refrigerator except when I'm serving it, however the ganache does harden. I've had it sitting out for about an hour with no melting. The cake keeps in the fridge for 4 or 5 days.

Jill said...

If that yummy looking cake kept you from having chocolate cravings for over 24 hours...It can be considered a diet food...Yes?

Pierre said...

I have been using this recipe almost 10 times now. Thanks a lot!

Julie said...

Pierre: Wow, I'm glad you like it so much! Thanks for leaving a comment.

Bread and Jam said...

I am so happy to stumble upon your site. I was doing a google search for a flourless chocolate cake and this looks perfect. I can't wait to try it!

lbradshaw said...

Oh my gosh! I have been searching for a flourless chocolate cake recipe like this! I used to work at a small bakery in NY near the CIA where this amazing pastry chef, Agie, made the most amazing flourless chocolate cake with ganache and this looks almost identical to it. I am making this for a dinner party Friday. SO excited!

Nicole said...

I have been looking for gluten free desserts I could not only safely enjoy but share with others. I have made this twice in the past month. Everyonr loves it!

Welcome! said...

Nicole: Thanks for your feedback! I'm so glad it's a gluten-free indulgence that everyone loves.