Last week we hosted a reception at our home, but the guest of honor had a serious gluten allergy, so I chose a flourless chocolate cake as the dessert. I’ve made this type of cake several other times, but on this occasion I went with a new recipe whose name I couldn’t resist: Chocolate Intensity Cake. Nothing beats that! The cake bakes in a water bath to ensure its fudgy texture, and then it gets smothered in chocolate ganache, as a double dose of goodness. If you’re a cake-pro, go for a completely smooth icing and perhaps some decoration with ganache on top. I went with swirls, for reasons that I won’t discuss in public.
CHOCOLATE INTENSITY CAKE
(from The Cake Book, by Tish Boyle)
for the cake
8 ounces 62% bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 + ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup strong brewed coffee
6 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
⅛ teaspoon salt
for the glaze
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
⅔ cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Heat the oven to 350F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform cake pan.
Place chopped chocolate in a large bow and set aside. Place the butter, sugar, and coffee in a medium saucepan and cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally until the butter is melted and the mixture begins to boil. Pour the hot butter mixture over the chopped chocolate, let it sit undisturbed for one minute, then whisk until the chocolate is fully melted and smooth.
In another bowl, whisk the eggs until completely blended. Add the vanilla extract and salt, mix again. Pour a small amount of the hot chocolate mixture into the eggs, whisk gently, and add all the egg mixture into the bowl with the hot chocolate.
Pour the batter into the springform pan. Wrap the outside with three layers of aluminum foil, place it inside a large roasting pan and pour enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the cake pan Bake cake in the water bath for 35 to 45 minutes, until the center is still a bit shiny but almost set Carefully transfer the cake pan to wire rack and let the cake cool for 20 minutes. Run a thin bladed paring knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake, open the springform, and place the cake over a plate still on the bottom of the pan. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before adding the glaze.
Make the glaze by adding the chopped chocolate in a bowl. Heat the cream almost to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Stir until completely smooth, add the vanilla, and stir again. Let it sit for 5 minutes at room temperature, then slowly pour the glaze over the chocolate cake, starting from the center. Smooth the surface and sides with an offset spatula. Refrigerate the cake, and bring to room temperature for 1 hour before slicing it.
to print the recipe, click here
I was nervous about serving this cake at the reception, because I hadn’t yet tested the recipe. So, I stressed over the baking time, stressed over glazing, stressed over when to remove it from the fridge, and if that wasn’t enough, I stressed about how to serve it without completely butchering the slices. That last part was easy, I handed the knife to my beloved husband. 😉
To my relief, the compliments kept coming, two guests said it was THE BEST cake they had ever had, and they were using all caps for the statement. Two commented on the pleasant “smokiness,” wondering where that could be coming from, and indeed, it was the coffee singing in the background. Coffee and chocolate, hand in hand, a perfect match.
I must say that this cake was awesome. The ganache becomes a single entity with the cake, making a velvety, smooth texture. A tiny slice will be enough because it’s so rich, but the intense chocolate flavor will linger in your mind, and you may find yourself reaching for a second slice, just to make sure you weren’t dreaming!
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TWO YEARS AGO: Lavash Crackers