Posted on Monday, 13th September 2010 by Grace Massa Langlois
When someone walks into my home for the first time they immediately notice my obsession for chocolate and cookbooks. Instantly they are tempted with 3 or 4 bowls of different chocolate confections or the chocolate dessert of the day. It would be very hard to miss my huge collection of cookbooks. Maybe that’s because most of the time they are strewn all over my coffee table!
Recently I added a couple of new cookbooks (I couldn’t resist!). One of these was David Lebovitz’s Ready for Dessert, a nice addition to my ever-growing bookshelf. It’s very difficult for me to pick up a cookbook and not be tempted by the many delicious chocolate desserts.
When I saw the photo for David Lebovitz’s Racines Cake it was too hard to resist! David’s inspiration for this recipe came from an unlikely place; a restaurant in Paris called Racines. You may be wondering, what’s so unlikely about that.
The thing is, David didn’t initially draw inspiration from the restaurant’s menu or ambience. He got what he was looking for from the men’s room bathroom wall. Apparently the wall was plastered with poems and drawings from local artists and in the midst of it all he noticed a recipe for chocolate cake. When he returned to the table he noticed a chocolate cake with the same name (Gâteau Zoë) on the menu and he proceeded to order it. He loved the cake so much he returned to the men’s room with a pen and pad of paper to write down the recipe (Good thing that stall was still available!).
Thank goodness for inspiration, no matter where it’s found. This chocolate flourless cake is so creamy and delicious! The cocoa nibs (unsweetened dry-roasted bits of cocoa) are optional, but if you can find them, they not only provide a nice crunch and contrast to the smooth texture of the cake but they also enhance the flavour of the cake.
Makes one 9-inch (23-cm) cake; 10 to 12 servings
- Cocoa powder, for preparing the pan
- 10 ounces (280 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces/115 g) salted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 tablespoon freshly brewed espresso
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup (50 g) plus 2 tablespoons (30 g) granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons (20 g) cocoa nibs (optional)
- confectioners’ sugar, for dusting the cake (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350° F (175° C). Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch (23-cm) spring-form pan, dust it with a bit of cocoa powder, and tap out any excess.
- Place the chocolate, butter and espresso in a large heatproof bowl. Set over a small saucepan of simmering water and using a spatula, stir until the chocolate and butter has melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove the bowl from the heat and stir in the vanilla; set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg yolks and the 1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar on medium-high speed until the mixture is light and creamy, about 1 minute.
- Place the egg whites in a clean, dry bowl and using a hand-held electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites on low speed until they begin to hold their shape. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons (30 g) granulated sugar and whisk on high speed until the whites hold soft peaks.
- Fold the beaten egg yolks into the melted chocolate mixture, then fold in half of the whipped egg whites. Fold in the remaining whites, folding just until there are no visible streaks of egg whites. Don’t overfold.
- Pour the batter into the prepared spring-form pan, sprinkle with cocoa nibs (if using), and bake until the cake feels as though it’s just barely set (It shouldn’t feel to firm.) in the centre, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
- Run a knife around the sides of the cake to help loosen it from the pan. Release the sides of the pan and dust the cake with confectioners’ sugar (if using).
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Tags: cake, cakes, chocolate, chocolate cake, chocolate dessert, David Lebovitz recipes, David Lebovitz's desserts, dessert, desserts, flourless cakes
Posted in Baking & Pastry, Baking Mise en Place, Pastry Doughs & Batter, Recipes