I have been working on this recipe for about 2 months…my poor family had to endure chocolate cake after chocolate cake. They all said it was wonderful, but I just kept saying it is still not perfect. I finally got it, and then I had to do it one more time to make sure that the first time was not a fluke. It wasn’t! This cake is rich and dark with a sinful texture that floats over your tongue like a chocolate truffle, a heady aroma that makes you understand why cacao beans are sought after the world over and just enough sweetness to end a meal with deep satisfaction. The beginning of flour-less chocolate dreams…
I started making this cake when one of our children decided that they did not want ice cream cake for their birthday. When asked what they would rather have they answered “the flourless chocolate cake you made when you were the chef at !@#$%^” (sorry no free advertising here and I won’t name drop this time either). That was simple, the recipe came from The Gourmet Cookbook edited by Ruth Reichl. In the cookbook she states that this is a very simple recipe and is probably the easiest cake recipe you will ever make, it is made of only 5 ingredients. She is correct, but I had to modify it a little to achieve the quintessential chocolate cake I was looking for. To start,the original recipe (found on page 739) uses a spring form pan; they are fine if you have and like using them, I do not – I lost the bottom to it and I refuse to buy another. I use a 10X3 inch cake pan for all of my 10 inch cakes. Using a solid bottom cake pan also allows me to cook in a water bath which I feel is important when making a recipe with a lot of eggs like cheese cake or this one. Finally, the original just didn’t have the silky texture that I was looking for so I added some egg yolks and dissolved the sugar in the egg before incorporating them with the melted chocolate. The resulting recipe is still incredibly easy and the cake is divine.
8 oz 60% Bittersweet Chocolate (chips are easier to weigh)
8 oz unsalted butter
1 cup cocoa powder, sifted
6 whole eggs plus 2 egg yolks
1½ cups sugar
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter the cake pan and place a parchment circle on the bottom of the pan buttering the top of the parchment as well. Melt chocolate and butter in a metal mixing bowl over barely simmering water. Stir occasionally until both the chocolate and the butter are melted and incorporated well. Remove from the heat and add the sifted cocao powder. Stir with a whisk to incorporate well. While the chocolate and the butter are melting beat the eggs slightly and add the sugar. Continue beating the eggs until the sugar is dissolved and the eggs become fluffy and pale yellow in color. Fold the eggs into the melted chocolate in 3 additions, continue to fold until the eggs are well incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth the top. Put the cake pan into a roasting pan and place both on the center rack of the oven.
Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come at least half way up the level of the cake batter. Bake for 35 minutes, then test with a tooth pick. The cake is done when there is a slight crust on the top of the cake and the tooth pick comes out with moist crumbs on it.
It usually takes 4o minutes in my oven. Cool the cake for 20 minutes on a wire rack, turn the pan over onto a cookie sheet, peel the paper off and turn it over again onto a serving platter. Let the cake cool another 2 hours before serving (try to keep everyone away from it).
My understanding is that the cake can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 days, but it never lasts more than 1 day in my house so I don’t know for sure. In the restaurant I made individual cakes like these and they did last at least 3 days, although my recollection is that I had to make them at least every 2 days or so. The ten inch cake can be cut into 16 pieces making the perfect size, large enough to satisfy but not so large that it is overkill. To cut it I dipped a knife in hot water and wiped it clean between each cut. Another way to do it would be with some copper or brass wire which is inexpensive and available at a hardware store. I served this cake when my sister and brother-in-law came to town with their two boys (we had a nice visit, it was great to see the boys…man they grow fast!) all agreed that it was the best they had had. I am sure you will love it, Enjoy!