We had quite the fabulous weekend of wine tasting, good food and great conversation at the second annual Slow Travel get together in Paso Robles. The Lemony Semolina Cookies that I brought were a big hit. And I'm glad that I brought my Chocolate Decadence Cake (despite its minor mishap) because it was devoured as well.
This Chocolate Decadence Cake is a dense, rich and nearly flourless chocolate cake that is inspired by an Alice Medrich recipe. It is really better made a day ahead of serving. So, it is perfect for entertaining or bringing to an out of town event. Unfortunately when I made it this time, I was a little impatient and tried to get it out of the pan the day it was made. The cake decided that it was not ready to leave the pan. The sides were stuck like glue. I practically had to chisel it out of the pan. So it had far more of a rustic look than I had intended. But the flavor was, as always, delicious.
Chocolate Decadence Cake
5 ounces dark bittersweet chocolate (I use Valrhona 71%)
1/2 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
1 cup granulated sugar (it will be used 1/2 cup at a time)
2 tablespoons flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon rum (vanilla infused rum is especially good)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 large egg white
Some boiling water
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch round cake pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper.
2. Chop the chocolate into small pieces and place in a large bowl. Note: if you’re using the 3.5 ounce bars of Valrhona, 5 ounces will be about 1 3/4 bars. It took me quite a bit of higher math thinking to figure that out, so I thought I'd pass that tip on.
3. In a small heavy saucepan, combine the cocoa, just 1/2 cup of the sugar, flour and salt. Whisk in the water until it is smooth. Then cook over medium heat just to a simmer, stirring constantly. Simmer for about 2 minutes, continuing to stir and turning down the heat slightly if it starts to sizzle and stick to the pan. Next pour the hot mixture over the chopped up chocolate and stir until the chocolate is melted. Add the rum and vanilla.
4. In another bowl add the eggs, egg white and the remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Beat with an electric hand mixer at high speed for about 5 minutes. You could also use the whisk attachment on a stand mixer, but it is nice to pull out the old hand mixer once in a while. After 5 minutes it will be substantially increased in volume and look light and fluffy. Gently fold the egg mixture a third at a time into the chocolate mixture until combined. Pour into the cake pan and make sure the top is smooth.
5. Place your cake pan in a large baking pan, then pour boiling water to come up to about halfway up the side of the cake pan. Carefully place in the oven on the rack in the lower third of your oven. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the top springs back slightly when touched. The interior will still be soft. Remove and cool on a rack.
6. Once it is completely cool, cover and refrigerate for one day before serving. Don't be impatient! Run a knife along the side of the pan. Unmold from the pan and turn right side up. You can dust the top with powdered sugar or cocoa and you can serve it plain or dressed up with some whipped cream or ice cream. Fresh berries are a particularly nice garnish. Serves 8 (large slices) or 12 (slivers).