Eating chocolate is something that should happen often, even daily.
Then there’s the chocolate dessert for a special occasion.
For years, I’ve been making a flourless chocolate cake based on a recipe in “Home Food,” a 1995 book in which chefs offer recipes from their nights off. The one for the cake came from some guy from New Orleans who had a few restaurants. His name is Emeril Lagasse. Heard of him?
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The book came out before Food Network was a thing, before Lagasse was known for his “bam.” I can do without that, but love this recipe and have adapted it over the years.
As you think about a special cake for Valentine’s Day, consider this beauty.
@Hungrymarshall’s flourless chocolate cake
What you’ll need:
- An oven (duh)
- A 9-inch or 10-inch springform pan
- A mixer, stand or hand
- A pot and a big metal bowl
- At least one little bowl
- A couple spatulas
- A big knife
- 1 pound good semisweet chocolate. You can use one of those big bars from Trader Joe’s, really good stuff like Ghirardelli, or even chocolate chips. Just don’t use baking chocolate. Good chocolate comes in percentages and the higher the better for this cake. Eighty percent isn’t too high.
- 1 stick butter
- 5 large eggs
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons good vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon liqueur. You can use Chambord (raspberry), Nocino (black walnuts) or some other flavor. Or you can just add another teaspoon of vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- whipped cream (optional)
- 1 pint fresh fruit such as raspberries or strawberries (optional)
- Set the oven to 350 degrees. Spray the springform pan with cooking spray and if you have it, wrap the bottom in parchment paper and put it in the pan, cutting off the extra.
- Put the bowl over a pot of simmering water, and add 8 ounces of the chocolate and the stick of butter. Stir with one of those spatulas until it’s melted then take it off the heat.
- Separate the eggs, meaning get the whites away from the yolks.
- In the mixing bowl, put the yolks with the sugar, vanilla and liqueur. Beat like mad for about three minutes until thick. Scrape it into the chocolate/butter mixture.
- Wash the mixing bowl well and rinse with cold water. Dry and add the egg whites and salt. Beat until stiff, but not dry, about two minutes. (That means the tops of the yolks should still look moist, but the whites form a little peak if you pull the mixer out.) Add the egg whites to the chocolate/egg mixture and stir until it is combined, or looks uniform.
- Pour the batter into the springform pan and bake 35 to 40 minutes. The top should be dry and springy. A toothpick inserted should come out mostly clean. But this cake doesn’t suffer from being a little underbaked.
- Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes. Remove the sides of the pan and cool completely, at least 30 more minutes, before adding ganache.
- Ganache? Yep, it’s a fancy name for icing made from almost pure chocolate. Melt the other 8 ounces of chocolate with the 1/2 cup of cream. Spread on top of cake and around the edges until it’s pretty. Put the cake somewhere chilly to let the ganache set.
- To cut the cake, get a big knife and rinse with hot water. Cut and rinse as necessary. Plate the cake with fruit and whipped cream, if you’ve got them.
- This cake will serve 8 to 14 people, depending how generous you are and how polite they are.
It’s a great cake for special occasions and one that people will discuss for a long time.