Friday, August 10, 2012

Crikey! It's Craggy!

Concluding my "Beautiful Bistro Menu," which started with Creme de Carottes au Cumin (Carrot and Cumin Soup) and followed with a beautiful Pan-Fried Sea Bass with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce and Broccoli Puree, I wanted something unusual for dessert; specifically, "Craggy Chocolate Cake." This cake, also from French Taste: Elegant Everyday Eating, by Laura Calder, is not your typical chocolate cake! It is a perfect concoction that creates a meringue-like exterior with a fudge-like interior! The cake cooks like a souffle, rising to all heights, then sinks when it cools, creating it's interesting crackled appearance. This decadent cake screams for a generous dollop of whipped cream, flavored with a little vanilla and confectioners' sugar! It's the perfect ending to a beautiful meal!

Craggy Chocolate Cake

Serves 8


7 ounces (200g) 70%-cacao bittersweet chocolate, chopped
7 ounces (200g) butter, softened
4 eggs, separated
1 cup (200g) sugar
Lightly sweetened whipped cream, for serving


Heat the oven to 375 degrees (190C). Line the bottom of an 8" (20cm) springform pan with a parchment round cut to fit, then grease and flour the pan.

Gently melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, then beat in the butter a piece at a time until smooth. Remove from the heat. In a separate bowl, beat the yolks with half the sugar until thick, pale, and ribbony. In yet another bowl, beat the whites to soft peaks. Scatter over the remaining sugar, and beat to a stiff meringue.

Slowly whisk the chocolate mixture into the yolk mixture. Stir in a spoonful of egg whites, then pour the chocolate mixture over the egg whites, and gently fold together with a spatula. Pour the batter into the pan, and bake until the top is set and the cake feels firm, 40-50 minutes. (My oven takes 40 minutes, keep an eye on it, it is inclined to over-browning!) Run a knife around the outside edge, then let it sit on a wire rack until cool. The cake will sink down, and the top will crack appealingly. Unmold, and serve.

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