This recipe is the definition of a flourless chocolate cake, containing only chocolate, butter and eggs. This “cake” has a sophisticated bittersweet flavor and silky texture that melts in your mouth. The editors at Cook’s Illustrated describe this cake as somewhere between an aerated chocolate mousse and a dense New-York-style cheesecake. It takes some finesse to achieve this texture. Luckily America’s Test Kitchen has fine-tuned this recipe to perfection.
I recommend adding the optional espresso to the batter; it really compliments the deep chocolate flavor. Be advised that the cake needs to sit in the fridge overnight. Serve with ice cream, whipped cream, or fruit.
Flourless Chocolate Cake
from The New Best Recipe: from the Editors of Cook’s Illustrated
serves 12 to 16
“Even though the cake may not look done, pull it from the oven when an instant-read thermometer registers 140 degrees. (Make sure not to let the tip of the thermometer hit the bottom of the pan.) It will continue to firm up as it cools. If you use a 9-inch springform pan instead of the preferred 8-inch, reduce the baking time to 18 to 20 minutes. We like the pure flavor of chocolate; however, coffee or liqueur (choose something that tastes like nuts, coffee, or oranges) can be added if desired.”
8 large eggs, cold
1 pound high-quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped coarse
16 tblsp (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces
1/4 cup strong black coffee or liqueur (optional)
confectioners’ sugar or unsweetened cocoa for dusting the cake (optional)
1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Line the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan with parchment paper or wax paper and grease the sides of the pan. Wrap the outside of the pan with 2 sheets of heavy-duty foil and set it in a large roasting pan. Bring a kettle of water to a boil.
2. Beat the eggs in the bowl of a standing mixer at high speed until the volume doubles (to approximately 1 quart), about 5 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate and the butter (adding the coffee, if using) in a large heatproof bowl set over a pan of almost-simmering water until smooth and very warm (about 115 degrees on an instant-read thermometer), stirring once or twice. (To melt in the microwave, heat the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl at 50 percent power for 2 minutes, stir, add the butter and coffee, if using, and continue heating at 50 percent power, stirring every minute until the chocolate and butter have melted and are smooth, another 2 to 3 minutes total). Fold a third of the egg foam into the chocolate mixture using a large rubber spatula until only a few streaks of egg are visible; fold in half the remaining foam, then the last foam, until the mixture is totally homogeneous.
4. Scrape the batter into the prepared springform pan and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula. Set the roasting pan on the oven rack and pour in enough boiling water to come about halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake until the cake has risen slightly, the edges are just beginning to set, a thin glazed crust (like a brownie) has formed on the surface, and an instant-read thermometer inserted halfway into the center reads 140 degrees, 22 to 25 minutes. Remove the cake pan from the hot water bath and set on a wire rack; cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate overnight to mellow. (The cake can be covered and refrigerated for up to 4 days.)
5. About 30 minutes before serving, remove the sides of the pan, invert the cake onto a sheet of wax paper, peel off the parchment paper, and reinvert the cake onto a serving platter. Sieve a light sprinkling of confectioners’ sugar over the cake to decorate. To slice, use a sharp, tin-bladed knife, dipping the knife into a pitcher of hot water and wiping the blade before each cut.