This is an interesting little cake. Somewhat rustic but completely refined at the same time. It is nearly flourless, which results in a dense, chocolately cake but it’s suprisingly light in texture. I’ve made it many times since I came across it about five years ago on Allrecipes.
It is a good special occasion cake to pull out when you really want to impress someone. And, it’s called French Chocolate Cake which just sounds so good that we have to love it!
If, like me, you are completely devoid of artistic talent, you might enjoy these Wilton Cake Stencils. They work on both frosted and unfrosted cakes, they’re reusable, and add a really nice finishing touch. See below for the blow by blow.
The ingreidents: Bittersweet baking bar, semi-sweet chocolate chips, unsalted butter, vanilla extract, eggs, flour, salt, confectioners’ sugar, and even though it is mysteriously absent from this photo – you’ll need a little granulated white sugar.
The equipment. You’ll need a 9-1/2″ springform pan and some parchment paper. My pan has seen better days. Note to self: buy a new springform pan.
Here’s a handy, dandy trick for lining a springform pan with parchment paper. Cut a square of paper a little larger than the bottom of the pan.
Place the base of the pan under the square of parchment and place the ring of the springform pan over it and press down.
Secure the latch on the pan and voila! A perfectly lined pan.
You can trim a little of the excess paper around the edges if you like but leave some. This extra paper will help you remove the cake from the base of the pan later. Spray the paper and the edges of the pan generously with cooking spray. This is a delicate cake and this will help ensure that we have no problems removing it from the pan later.
To a heavy saucepan add the bittersweet chocolate, breaking it up into small pieces as you add it to the pan, chocolate chips, cubed butter, and the granulated sugar (less 3 tablespoons which you should measure out and reserve for later). Melt this together over medium heat.
Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Set aside to cool.
Separate the yolks from the whites of all five eggs. Thank you Boy #4 for taking this picture. I need a third arm. Actually, I don’t think that would be a good look so forget it.
Hang on to both the yolks and the whites – you’ll need both.
Beat the egg whites with a hand mixer till frothy and then add the dash of salt.
Continue to mix until the mixture becomes puffy and white. Sprinkle in the 3 tablespoons of sugar that you reserved earlier.
Beat a little longer until you see peaks when you remove beaters from the mixture.
Add egg yolks, one at a time, to slightly cooled chocolate mixture, while beating.
Beat in flour, just till combined.
Beat in 1/3 of egg whites.
Fold in the remaining egg whites with a wooden spoon. Mix just until combined.
Place your prepared springform pan on a baking sheet and pour the cake batter into the pan. Tap pan down on baking sheet a couple times to remove bubbles.
Bake at 325 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven when well risen and a skewer inserted in center comes out clean. Don’t over bake or the cake will dry out.
Place the pan on a wire rack and remove the sides of the pan. Allow to cool completely before decorating and removing from base.
When completely cooled, place cake stencil over the top of the cake.
Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar. I got a little carried away and used too much – don’t be like me. You can just sprinkle the sugar straight on without a stencil but I was feeling fancy.
Now you can transfer the decorated cake to a serving platter. Using the edges of the parchment paper, carefully lift it from the base of the pan and move it over to the serving platter, removing the parchment paper before placing it down.
Slice and serve. If you really want to drive them crazy, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and you’ve got a restaurant quality dessert. Divine!
French Chocolate Cake
- 1/2 cup granulated white sugar, divided
- 1 (4 ounce) bittersweet chocolate baking bar
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 5 eggs, separated
- 1/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour
- Dash of salt
- 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9-1/2 inch springform cake tin with parchment paper and spray the paper and the sides of the pan generously with cooking spray.
Set aside 3 tablespoons of the sugar. Break the chocolate into pieces and place in a large, heavy-based pan along with cubed butter and remaining sugar. Cook over moderate heat until the chocolate and butter have melted, and the sugar has dissolved. Remove the pan from heat. Stir in vanilla, and leave the mixture to cool slightly.
While chocolate mixture is cooling, beat the egg whites in a large bowl with a hand mixer until foamy. Add salt and beat until mixture becomes puffy and white and you can see peaks when you pull beaters out. Sprinkle reserved sugar over egg whites, and beat until stiff and glossy.
Beat the egg yolks into the slighly cooled chocolate mixture one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the flour just until combined.
Beat 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then carefully fold in the remaining whites with a spoon. Carefully pour batter into the prepared pan, and tap the pan gently to release air bubbles. Place pan on a baking sheet.
Bake for about 35 minutes to 45 minutes, until well risen and a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. If the cake appears to rise unevenly, rotate after 20 to 25 minutes. Set the pan on a wire cooling rack, and remove the sides only. Do not attempt to remove the cake from the base before it ‘s completely cooled as this cake is very fragile. Cool completely. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar. Remove from base, carefully peel off parchment paper and move to a serving platter.
Adapted from Allrecipes