This is so chocolately, so delicious, so rich... if you love chocolate you will love this cake! It does take some work to make, unless you're like me and love to bake, then I wouldn't really call it "work!" But it's a procedure so I have only made it for very special occasions (like my good friend Dana's 30th birthday, as you can tell by the picture). There is no flour in this recipe... only chocolate, eggs, sugar, butter, and cream! Those are the only ingredients!
For the cake:
1/2 lb (2 sticks) unsalted butter (and melt 2 T of the butter)
8 oz semisweet chocolate, broken into pieces (or 1 1/3 c semisweet chocolate chips)
8 large egg yolks
3/4 c white sugar
4 large egg whites
For the filling:
8 oz semisweet chocolate, broken into pieces
2 1/2 heavy cream
2 T white sugar
For the dark chocolate Ganache:
1 1/2 c heavy cream
2 T unsalted butter
18 oz semisweet chocolate, broken into pieces (so about 3 cups chocolate chips)
Lightly coat the insides of 3 9" cake pans with melted butter. Line each pan with parchment paper, then lightly coat the parchment paper with more melted butter. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Heat 1" of water in the bottom half of a double boiler over medium heat. Place remaining butter and 8 oz semisweet chocoalte in the top half of the double boiler. Tightly cover the top with plastic warp. Allow to heat for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir until smooth, and hold at room temperature.
Place the egg yolks and 3/4 c sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle. Beat on high until slightly thickened and lemon-colored, about 4 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat on high for an additional 2 minutes.
While the egg yolks are beating, whisk 4 egg white in a large stainless steel bowl until stiff, but not dry, and 3-4 minutes (I did this with a hand mixer, not a whisk).
Using a rubber spatula, fold the melted chocolate mixture into the beaten egg yolk mixture. Add a quarter of the beaten egg whites and stir to incorporate, then gently fold in the remaining egg whites.
Divide the batter between the prepared pans, spreading evenly, and bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool in the pans for 15 minutes. During baking, the surface of the cakes will form a crust; this crust will normally collapse when the cakes are removed from the oven. Invert the cakes onto cake circles, remove the parchment paper, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. (They will be quite thin.)
To prepare the dark chocolate cream, heat 1" water in the bottom half of a double boiler. Tightly cover the top with film wrap and allow to heat for 8-10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir until smooth. Transfer the melted chocolate to a stainless steel bowl and set aside until needed. Place heavy cream and sugar in the well-chilled bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a well-chilled balloon whip. Whisk on high until stiff peaks forms, about 1 1/2 minutes. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Use a hand whisk to combine 1/4 of the whipped cream into the melted chocolate until smooth and completely incorporated. Add the combined whipped cream and chocolate to the remaining whipped cream and use a rubber spatula to fold together.
Heat the heavy cream and the butter in a 3-qt saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil. Place the semisweet chocolate in a 3-qt stainless steel bowl. Pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Then stir until smooth. Chill 1 cup of ganache for at least 1 hour. Remaining ganache should be at room temperature.
To assemble the cake:
Arrange one of the cake layers in a 9" springform pan, evenly spread half the filling over the cake and top with the second layer. Add remaining filling and top with the remaining cake layer. Chill 2 hours. Transfer chilled cup of ganache to a pastry bag fitted with a star tip. Remove cake from springform pan and coat sides and top with room temperature ganache. Using chilled ganache, decoratively pipe stars on top of cake. If desired, coat sides of cake with grated chocolate, cookie crumbs or chopped nuts.
- I usually just use regular salted butter in recipes like this when it calls for unsalted, and it turns out fine.
- All those instructions about preparing the cake pans may seem like overkill but if I were you, I would do it. Parchment paper and all. Being flourless, this cake is really sticky (similar to brownie consistency) and I don't think it would come out of the cake pan in one piece without the parchment paper. Also, I don't have 9" cake rounds so I used 8" and that was fine.
- If you don't have a double boiler, which I don't, just use a medium saucepan with a glass bowl sitting on top of it. The most important thing is not allowing any of the water to get into the bowl (it won't agree with the chocolate).
- I don't know how important it is to use a stainless steel bowl when they tell you to, but I did it that way. Also, you will use about a million bowls in this recipe if you don't reuse them as you go... just make sure when whipping the egg whites that that bowl is very clean, or else they won't whip well.
- Chilling your bowl and whisk (whip) before whipping cream is a common technique; it's supposed to make the cream whip better. I always put my bowl and whisk in the freezer for a few minutes beforehand. Also, the cream needs to be nice and cold too (not having sat out on the counter for a while).
- I tried using a springform pan for this and for me that was one step too many. The point of using one is to make sure your cake is nice and straight-sided as it chills. But if you are very careful to spread your filling evenly and make it nice and straight when you're assembling it, and it sits level in the fridge, it should do just fine.
- When eating this cake, I had to put a big dollop of whipped cream on top to cut the extreme chocolate flavor. So, have some extra cream on hand to whip up when serving.
- To make the "30" on my friend's cake, I printed out a big 3 - 0 on cardstock and cut it out with an Exacto knife. I left the middle of the zero attached in two thin spots. Then I held the piece of cardstock over the cake, close to it but not touching since the ganache was still wet and sticky, and I dusted it with powdered sugar.
- Oh me oh my, this is good cake.
Recipe courtesy of foodnetwork.com