Every Saturday, I pack up what seems like, a million things, and we make our way over to my parents house for a visit. Among those million things, is always dessert. Lately, I’ve been bringing a lot of pumpkin desserts, and while we all love them, it was time for something with some chocolate in it. My Dad is a huge chocolate lover, and while he never complained about all the pumpkin, I knew a little chocolate would make him happy. And, I think this did the trick.
Don’t let the crazy, messy, crackly top on this cake scare you. It is insanely good. It’s a chocolate lovers delight, and if you don’t love chocolate you will after this. It’s that awesome. I’m not sure the best way to describe this cake. It is a combination of a flourless chocolate cake, and a really fudgey brownie, all rolled into one amazing cake. It’s low and dense, and incredibly rich, so a little goes a long way.
You can serve this cake plain, with a dollop of whipped cream, or even cover the top with chocolate ganache. But, why not take it over the top? Two words. Salted caramel. I seriously love salted caramel, and will pretty much look for any excuse to put it on anything. So this cake was no exception.
This cake is fairly quick and easy to make, and requires minimal ingredients. That being said, I think it is important to use the best quality ingredients that you can afford, namely chocolate. Good quality chocolate, will enhance this cake, and make it taste that much better.
Now, go make this. I promise you’ll love it.
A moist and dense cake that is perfectly chocolatey, and covered in salted caramel sauce.
- 5 large eggs, separated
- 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used Callebaut semi-sweet couveture)
- 1 cup (225g) sugar
- 5 tablespoons (2.5 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
- 2 teaspoons espresso powder
- 2 tablespoons cognac, or brandy
- 1/3 cup (42g) all-purpose flour
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup (225g) sugar
- 3 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 pinches salt (preferably fleur-de-sel)
- Adjust oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan (sides and bottom), and line the bottom with parchment paper. Butter the parchment paper, and dust the pan with cocoa powder. Place the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat.
- Separate the eggs, putting the egg yolks into a small bowl, and the whites into the bowl of a stand mixer.
- In a medium heatproof bowl, add the chocolate, sugar, butter, espresso powder, and cognac. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water, stirring occasionally until the butter and chocolate are melted. The sugar may be grainy once everything is melted; that's okay everything will still come together. Remove the bowl from the heat and allow to sit on the counter for 3 minutes.
- In the meantime, beat the egg whites and a pinch of salt using the whisk attachment on high speed until they have firm and glossy peaks, about 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside
- Using a rubber spatula, stir in the egg yolks one at a time, then fold in the flour. Stir in about one quarter of the egg whites into the chocolate to lighten the batter. Then gently fold in the remaining egg whites until combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and gently smooth using the spatula.
- Bake for 35 to 45 minutes (took about 40 minutes for me), or until the cake has risen evenly. The edges and centre should both puff up, and the top is firm (and likely cracked) and will not shimmy when tapped. A knife inserted should come out slightly streaked. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool about 10 minutes in the pan.
- Run a knife around the edges of the cake, and remove the sides of the pan. Cool the cake completely. As the cake cools, it may sink in the middle.
- In a medium saucepan, add the sugar and water and stir to combine. Heat the sugar over medium-high heat,without stirring, until the caramel reaches a deep amber colour, about 5 to 10 minutes. (Swirl the pan occasionally only if the sugar is colouring unevenly).
- Immediately remove the pan from the heat, and add the butter and half the cream while whisking. Be careful the mixture will bubble vigourously. Add in the remaining cream and mix. Add in the vanilla and salt, and stir to combine.
- Pour the caramel into a heatproof bowl or jar, and allow to cool before putting on the cake, about 1 hour. The caramel will thicken as it cools.
- Pour the caramel over the cooled cake. Note: I didn't use all the caramel on the cake. You can keep the caramel to use on other things such as pancakes, ice cream, coffee, etc. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 1 week. Warm slightly in the microwave before using.
Keep the cake well covered at room temperature for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 2 months. You may not use all the caramel, so store in an airtight container such as a mason jar for up to 1 week in the refrigerator and use it on everything.
Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours.
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