is a flourless chocolate cake recipe given to me by my late
friend Richard Sax. Not only is it a superbly rich and beautiful
cake, because of its flourlessness it has become a Passover
tradition. There is the slight problem of butter, which makes
it difficult (sacrilegious, really) to serve it after a kosher
meat meal. But if such things are a concern, you can figure
out a time to eat it--believe me, you will want to. It is
so dense and delicious you don't really need anything more
than a sprinkling of powdered sugar or a spoonful of whipped
cream to go with it.
Makes 1 8-inch cake, serving
8 to 12
pound (8 ounces) top-quality bittersweet chocolate (such
as Lindt, Valrhona, Callebaut, or Sharffen Berger with 60%
or more cocoa content), coarsely chopped
stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cut into chunks, at room
tablespoons brandy, cognac or Grand Marnier
zest of 1 orange (about 2 teaspoons) (optional)
round springform pan
paper or parchment
mixer or good whisk
the oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of the 8-inch spring
form with a round of waxed paper or parchment, but do not
butter the paper or the pan. Melt the chopped chocolate in
the top of a double boiler, or in a stainless steel bowl set
over a pot of simmering water, or in the microwave. Be very
careful not to get any water from condensation into the chocolate.
When it is melted, remove from the heat and whisk in the butter.
separate mixing bowls, separate 4 of the eggs. Be sure not
to get any yolk in with the whites. Add the remaining 2 whole
eggs to the yolks along with 1/2 cup of the sugar. Whisk until
blended. Add the chocolate and butter mixture to the yolks.
Whisk in the brandy, cognac or Grand Marnier and the orange
zest, if using. Beat until blended.
an electric beater or a good whisk and a strong arm, beat
the egg whites until foamy, 2 or 3 minutes. Gradually add
the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and continue beating until
the whites form soft mounds that hold their shape but are
not stiff. They should look shiny and silken. Using a rubber
spatula, stir about 1/4 of the beaten egg white mixture into
the chocolate egg yolk mixture to lighten it. Then dump the
remaining egg whites on top of the chocolate mixture and,
using the spatula, fold in the whites just until incorporated,
being careful to deflate them as little as possible.
the batter into the prepared pan. Bake the cake for 35 to
40 minutes, until the top is puffed and cracked, and the mixture
is no longer wobbly. Do not overbake the cake or it will be
dry; better to err on the side of underdone. Cool the cake
in the pan on a wire rack. The cake will sink as it cools
leaving an attractive, cracked crater in the middle. Unmold
before serving by running a knife around the sides and releasing
the spring. You can fill the crater if you like with whipped
cream and dust with powdered sugar, and/or cocoa.
you trying to bankrupt me? Splurge on the best chocolate you
can find. This cake is all about the chocolate.
call that a piece of cake? Resist the temptation to be too
generous with your portions. This cake is so rich, a sliver
is all you need. (Besides couldn't your friends stand to lose
a few pounds?)
who invented the flourless chocolate cake, you ask? The answer
is impossible to find. In recent years, flourless chocolate
cake and its underbaked cousin the molten chocolate cake have
become ubiquitous on restaurant menus. These cakes are sometimes
mislabeled soufflés, but they are more like failed
soufflés than anything else. Superstar chef Jean-Georges
Vongerichten (of Jean Georges, Vong, Mercer Kitchen, et al.)
lays claim to serving the first molten chocolate cake, but
who can be sure? The thing to keep in mind is that neither
underbaking nor overbaking this particular cake is desirable.
It may take you one or two tries until you get the doneness
just right. But don't be discouraged, this cake is always
delicious. It has none of the rubberiness of other flourless
chocolate cakes, and none of the uncooked, batter-taste of
most molten chocolate cakes.