OK, so you're going to be mad at me. First I post two weeks of fattening Super Bowl snacks and then follow it up today with a chocolate cake. Don't remind me, I know. We're all watching our diets, trying to eat healthier in 2011. And to top it all off, I don't even like chocolate all that much...one of life's lucky little breaks. I'm not going to say I never eat chocolate, I do. But I don't crave it, unlike a cousin I had who was allergic to it; at Christmas and Easter when we were children, my mother used to hide a box of Sander's chocolate (the only kind to eat back in the old days if you lived in the Detroit area) under the lid of our baby grand piano thinking my cousin wouldn't find it (not the greatest hiding place, Mom), but Marci's nose knew right where to go and she ate it until she got sick, poor thing. Every. Single. Year. Talk about addictions; she was the worst chocolate fanatic I ever knew. Well, maybe one other, my friend Polly.
In the 70's my friend Nancy introduced me to See's. She wouldn't eat any other kind. Even my father used to keep one of those huge Hershey bars in the fridge and every evening he would break off a piece. How about you? Do you have some stashed? Do you sneak it? Eat it in bed? Hide it so your family doesn't find it? Fess up, people. Tell me your chocolate secrets!
Anyway, just about everyone I know loves chocolate anything and besides, Valentine's Day is around the corner and everyone knows about the connection between chocolate and romance. Did you know the celebrated Italian libertine Casanova took chocolate before bedding his conquests on account of chocolate's reputation as a subtle aphrodisiac? Hmmmmm. And then I found this little gem of information: in the United States, the typical person eats 11.5 pounds of chocolate annually. Somebody is eating my share! Could it be YOU?
So here's the first thing: if you're a chocoholic you probably already have Maida Heatter's Book of Great Chocolate Desserts , but then you should also have Lisa Yockleson's book and thirdly, trust me when I say this cake is right up your alley. Dense, dark and divine. We should all have a great recipe for a flourless chocolate cake like this in our repertoire. I took it to a party over the holidays. It was gone in a flash. I should have made two...but I kept telling everyone: you only need a sliver, it's so rich. Nobody paid any attention to me.
(Dare I mention a dollop of whipped cream on each slice wouldn't go amiss?)
Flourless Bittersweet Chocolate Cake
From Chocolate by Lisa Yockelson
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled to tepid (I used Callebaut bittersweet chocolate)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to tepid
5 large eggs, separated
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
cocoa powder and confectioners sugar for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Lightly butter the inside of a 9" springform pan
Sift the sugar, cocoa powder and salt onto a piece of wax paper
Whisk the melted butter and melted chocolate together until smooth.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs yolks and sugar mixture for a couple minutes until thickened. Add vanilla and then the chocolate/butter mixture.
Beat the egg whites in a separate bowl until soft peaks form. Add the cream of tartar and beat until firm peaks (not stiff) form.
Stir 2 or 3 spoonfuls of the whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remaining whites lightly but thoroughly.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake 35 to 40 minutes until set. The baked cake will form puffs and fissures here and there.
Cool the cake in the pan on a rack. It will sink and collapse at the cracks.
Release the cake from the pan, remove the sides and sift cocoa powder and confectioners sugar on top.