Flourless Chocolate Cake

Still coming off my chocolate high from Brussels, I decided to make this rich, creamy cake, which is a delight in so many ways and a David Leibovitz special. Leibovitz worked as a pastry chef in Paris (where he still lives) and it’s clear that he knows his desserts. His knowledge of sweet goodies is fantastic, and so this cake is too. I made it for many dinner parties back when I lived in Toronto, and it always got rave reviews (and recipe requests). In Leibovitz’s original recipe it’s called “Chocolate Idiot Cake” because anybody can make it, no matter how bad they think they are at baking. It truly is easy, looks beautiful, and feeds plenty of people. Even if you’re just feeding one or two, this cake keeps well in the fridge, making it–in my book, at least–the perfect chocolate cake.

I think there’s something really beautiful about making a luscious cake with only four ingredients, and it’s a nice idea to spend a bit more money and make sure those ingredients are of the highest quality. With that in mind, last week I stopped by my local farmer’s market and specialty stores and stocked up on some good eggs and Valrhona chocolate. You certainly don’t need to spend gobs of cash on chocolate (I even mixed my expensive chocolate with some more ordinary stuff) but the flavours from fresh eggs, top-quality chocolate, and rich butter will definitely shine through in this cake. While we’re on the subject of butter, if you’re in the UK I suggest sampling the Waitrose Brittany butter. It has tiny little flecks of sea salt in it, which makes for a delicious spread on toast or a little crunch in a sweet dessert. Salty-sweet, my favourite taste combo.

Flourless, Flawless Chocolate cake (Stolen from David Leibovitz)

I still have some of this in the fridge, which is really a testament to how many people this cake serves (like, 12). I used a large tart pan, as my springform is getting a little old, and it made for a lovely thin cake with the consistency of warm baked ganache. Heavenly. Just don’t forget to adjust your baking time!

  • 10 ounces (290 g) chopped bittersweet or dark chocolate
  • 7 ounces (200 g) butter, cut into pieces. It doesn’t matter whether you use salted or unsalted butter.
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (200 g) sugar

Preheat the oven to 350° Farenheit (175° Celsius)

Butter a 9-inch (23 cm) springform (or tart) pan and dust it with cocoa powder, tapping out any excess. You may want to wrap aluminum foil around the outside, if your pan isn’t watertight. Definitely do this if you’re using a tart pan.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler (or microwave, my preferred option), stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar, then whisk in the melted chocolate mixture until smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. You may want to cover the top of the pan snugly with a sheet of foil. Put the springform pan into a larger baking pan, such as a roasting pan, and then add enough hot water to the baking pan to come about halfway up to the outside of the cake pan.

Bake for around 45 minutes (if you’re using a taller springform pan, it may take longer). Take the cake out when it feels just set, and a finger touched to the surface comes away clean. Take the cake pan out of the water bath and remove the foil. Let the cake cool completely on a wire rack.

Serve your guests thin wedges of this flourless chocolate cake after it has cooled for a few hours. Top with crême anglaise, ice cream, whipped cream, or just powdered sugar. If you wrap it up tightly in your fridge, it should last up to a week.


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