Hello, everyone. I'm so happy to be hosting this month. I'm even happier that this week's recipe features DARK CHOCOLATE (and lots of it!) Although, this slender cake looks sophisticated, the recipe couldn't be easier. If you can melt chocolate and stir, you can do this. Can't do that? Then you can do both the cream and the cake in the food processor. If you're just here for the text of the recipe, skip down to the bottom. (or you can listen to me blather on for a little longer.)
The recipe tells you to "choose a chocolate that you love", so I pulled out the big guns. I got a block of Sharffen-Berger 70% bittersweet. This chocolate is fruity with a big finish, so I was hoping it would really shine in the final cake.
A couple of notes about this recipe:
- I mixed the cake by hand and it gets really stiff after you beat some of the butter in. "Room-temperature" in my kitchen in February is around 66°F. I had to microwave the butter until it was just on the edge of melting to finish mixing it into the batter.
- The directions say to bake the cake for "exactly 30 minutes." After 23 minutes, the cake still looked raw and shiny. I was positive that it wouldn't be ready. I was wrong. It had the promised "thin, dry crust" after exactly 30 minutes.
- The part of the recipe that really worried me was "the flip". I was concerned that the plastic wrap would melt onto the hot pan. I was also worried that the warm cake would break apart and fall on the floor. Do you know the Julia Child-Potato Pancake story? (Read it here: the 2nd chapter.) Julia said, "When you flip anything, you just have to have the courage of your convictions." I must've had more courage than I thought, since it stayed in one piece. We miss you, Julia!
But enough about the process, the real question is: does this cake pay off? Is this cake the deep, dark, chocolate extravagance of my dreams? I'm happy to say, "yes, yes it is." As a matter of fact, I would recommend thin slices, since this cake is intense. I would also recommend not skipping the white chocolate cream. I know there are a lot of white chocolate haters out there (you know who you are!), but the warm, soft, rich cake really benefits from the cold, firm, bourbon-ey cream. If you're really not into white chocolate, you could probably get a similar effect with the ice cream of your choice. A drizzle of raspberry sauce might be nice, too.
Makes 12 servings. A boca negra, or black mouth, is what you'll have after one bite of this intensely chocolaty cake—you'll also have a smile on your face. A chocolate craver's ideal, this cake calls for twelve ounces of bittersweet chocolate and you'll taste every ounce, so choose chocolate you love. The cake is meant to be served warm or at room temperature, when it is as moist, dense and dark as the chocolate you use to make it. Chilled, it has all the appeal of fudge. The white chocolate cream, which is made a day ahead, is one you can use with other desserts, and neither the cake nor the cream is a challenge for beginner bakers. In fact, if you make it in the food processor, it takes only five minutes.
12 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup Bourbon (or more to taste)
Prepare the cream at least one day in advance. Put the white chocolate in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade or a blender container. Heat the heavy cream until small bubbles form around the edge of the pan. Pour the cream over the chocolate and process until completely smooth. Add the bourbon, taste, and add up to a tablespoon more if you want. Turn into a container with a tight-fitting lid and chill overnight. (The cream can be kept in the refrigerator for a week or frozen for up to a month. If you've frozen the cream, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator.)
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
1/2 cup bourbon
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 10 pieces, at room temperature
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter a 9-inch round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment or wax paper; butter the paper. Put the cake pan in a shallow roasting pan and set aside until needed.
Put the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl and keep close at hand. In a 2-quart saucepan, mix 1 cup of the sugar and the bourbon and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a full boil. Immediately pour the hot syrup over the chocolate and stir with a rubber spatula until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Piece by piece, stir the butter into the chocolate mixture. Make certain that each piece of butter is melted before you add another.
Put the eggs and the remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a medium bowl and whisk until the eggs thicken slightly. Beating with the whisk, add the eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until well blended. Gently whisk in the flour.
If you use the food processor: Put the chocolate in the work bowl. Bring all of the sugar and bourbon to a full boil and pour the syrup into the work bowl; process until the mixture is completely blended, about 12 seconds. With the machine running, add the butter in pieces, followed by the eggs, one at a time, and then the flour. Process an additional 15 seconds before turning the batter into the prepared pan.
Baking the cake: Pour and scrape the batter into the prepared pan, running your spatula over the top to smooth it. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come about 1 inch up the sides of the cake pan. Bake the cake for exactly 30 minutes, at which point the top will have a thin, dry crust. Remove the cake pan from its water bath, wipe the pan dry, and cover the top of the cake with a sheet of plastic wrap. Invert the cake onto a flat plate, peel off the parchment and quickly but gently invert again onto a serving platter; remove the plastic.
Serve the cake warm or at room temperature with the chilled white chocolate cream.
Storing: Once cooled, the cake can be covered with plastic and kept at room temperature for 1 day or refrigerated for up to 3 days; bring to room temperature before serving. For longer storage, wrap the cake airtight and freeze it; it will keep for up to a month. Thaw overnight, still wrapped, in the refrigerator.