During a marathon of House of Cards, I baked a dark, intense dessert to match the show’s atmosphere. This flourless chocolate cake is dense and deeply chocolaty. The water bath results in a lush texture, while the chilled eggs results in a denser foam which enhances the cake’s smooth velvet texture. The smell is intoxicating when the cake comes out of the oven. It will continue to firm up as it cools. As a finishing touch, you can dust some confectioners’ sugar or cocoa powder on top. I set a doily on the cake and dusted confectioners’ sugar to create a design. Keep in mind that the cake needs to set overnight in the fridge before you can serve it.
Since this is such a rich, decadent dessert (it’s hard to eat more than a sliver at a time, don’t want it to go to waste), I gave a large portion away to my taste-testers. But sliver by sliver, the cake is disappearing from the serving platter, making me question my decision to part with this sumptuous treat!
About the baking time: After 25 minutes in the oven, the centre of my cake was still wobbly. I left it in the oven for 32 minutes and I was still hesitant to take it out. I should have followed the instructions, considering Cook’s Illustrated recipes always turn out well. The part that seemed wobbly resulted in such a silky texture, while the bottom (although still delicious) was slightly crumbly, overbaked.
Recipe Source: Cook’s Illustrated
Yields 12 to 16 slices
8 eggs, chilled
1 pound bittersweet chocolate or semisweet chocolate, chopped coarse (I used half of each.)
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup strong brewed coffee, room temperature
1) Adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position. Preheat the oven to 325F.
2) Butter the bottom and sides of an 8-inch round springform pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Wrap the outside of the pan with two layers of aluminum foil. Set the pan in a roasting pan.
3) Bring some water to a boil in a kettle.
4) In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the eggs on medium speed until doubled in volume, about 5 minutes.
5) Melt the chocolate, butter and coffee in a large heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Temperature should register 115F. Once smooth, remove the bowl from the heat.
6) Use a spatula to fold one-third of the eggs into the chocolate mixture.
7) Fold in the rest of the eggs in two additions, making sure the batter is homogeneous.
8) Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top.
9) Set the roasting pan on the oven rack.
10) Pour the boiling water in the roasting pan until it comes halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
11) Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, until the cake has risen slightly, a brownie-like crust has formed on the surface and the edges begin to set. The temperature of the cake should register at 140F.
12) Remove the springform pan from the water bath and set it on a wire rack to cool completely.
13) Cover the springform pan with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge overnight.
14) 30 minutes before you serve the cake, run a thin knife along the sides of the springform pan. Remove the sides of the springform pan. Invert the cake onto a sheet of wax paper. Discard the parchment at the bottom of the cake. Turn the cake right side up onto a serving platter.
Store the cake in the fridge for up to 4 days.