The absolute chocolate fix. This flourless cake is so easy to make. No layering, no splitting in the middle, in short, impressive no-fuss dessert. It’s deliciously rich and I love to serve it with a “cloud” of whipped cream. However, some of my friends like to eat it plain, so that the cream doesn’t interfere with that melt-in-the-mouth richness. You can prepare this cake 2 days before serving, which is fantastic if you are preparing in advance for a dinner party. It keeps in the fridge for a whole week, so any left overs can be secretly devoured (I eat it for breakfast!).
- 1 cup water
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 125 grams unsalted butter
- 500 grams very good quality bittersweet chocolate (not 70% cocoa solids. 40-50% is best)
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 6 large eggs
For the ganache topping
- 200 grams very good quality bittersweet chocolate (not 70% cocoa solids. 40-50% is best)
- 1 cup cream
- 2 Tbs “Cointreau”, or other liqueur of your choice
- 1 cup cream, mixed with 2 Tbs icing sugar and whipped until thick.
- Chopped caramelized almonds (optional)
Preheat oven to 170 C. You will need a round 25cm (10”) spring form cake pan, with removable sides. Butter the pan and line base with parchment paper. First, you need to wrap this pan in aluminum foil, as you will bake this cake in a water bath. So, cut 3 large square pieces of aluminum foil and stack them one on top of the other. Put your pan in the middle and wrap the foil tightly around your pan, to prevent any water leaking into your cake. Put your wrapped cake in a larger pan and set aside until needed.
In a small pan mix the water and sugar. Bring to boil over high heat, then lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Set aside.
In a medium pan, put the chocolate and butter over low heat. Melt chocolate with butter, stirring, until mixture is smooth. Add hot syrup and stir to mix well. Mixture should be glossy and smooth. Stir in the vanilla.
Pour chocolate mixture in a mixer bowl, fitted with the whisk attachment. While whisking (medium speed), add the eggs, one at a time. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Pour boiling water into the bigger pan, to reach half way up the sides of the cake pan. Bake for 50 minutes. The cake will rise slightly and cracks will form on the surface.
Remove cake from the oven. Remove pan from the water bath on a kitchen towel. Leave cake to cool completely in the pan. During cooling, the cake will fall slightly. Don’t worry about any cracks on the surface. They will be covered by the ganache.
When cake is completely cool, make the ganache. Chop the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring the cream to a boil and immediately pour over the chocolate. Leave to stand for a few minutes, then stir with a spatula until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in the liqueur. Pour ganache over the cake (the cake is still in the pan).
Chill cake in it’s pan, until ganache is set (24 hours). To transfer to a serving platter, run a spatula all the way around the sides of the cake pan. Release the sides and remove. Use your small spatula to lift the base of the cake, so that you can stick a bigger spatula under the cake and lift it out of the pan. (I know, it might not be the right way to do this, but I use my hands as a larger spatula! I find it’s the easiest way to hold the cake in the palm of one hand and remove the parchment paper with the other). Remove and discard the parchment paper. Scatter with some caramelized almonds on top and serve with the whipped cream.