Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Achtung. Because somebody told me that means "caution" in German.

Oops. I looked it up and Babelfish disagrees with that translation, so maybe a German can let us know.

I'd been waiting for an excuse to bake this. This is a very dangerous cake to have just sitting around your fridge begging you to eat it and with no one there to help you finish it off. That's why I say achtung. Better have a group of 15 or so people to help you out. I thought a going-away party for the Registers was the perfect reason for some serious flourless chocolate cake.

And serious it was. It was like eating a truffly (but so much better because a slice of cake it so much more fit for this girls chocolate cravings than a couple of measly truffles). It was the smoothest, silkiest flourless chocolate cake I have ever eaten. Maybe that has something to do with the the 3 (!) sticks of butter in one 9-inch cake. Maybe.

I did not have the time to take a picture of the whole cake, but it was coated with a beautiful, smooth ganache that made it look so elegant. After everybody left the party, there was just this one little peice left. And I saved it for you. Ryan wanted it but I saved it for you.

Smooth Operator Intense Chocolate Cake
Adapted from "Chocolate Intensity" in Tish Boyle's The Cake Book

Makes one 9-inch cake
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I used around 70% cacao), finely chopped
12 ounces (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup whole milk
6 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350ยบ F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round cake pan. Line the bottom with a parchment round and butter the parchment. (If you're using a pan with a removable bottom like a springform, make sure to wrap the pan with 2 or 3 layers of foil, so water from the water bath can't get inside the pan)

Place chopped chocolate in a large bowl. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, stir butter, sugar and milk until the butter is melted and mixture has just started boiling.

Pour the hot mixture over your chopped chocolate. Let stand for 1 minute then gently stir until chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs vigorously until blended. Whisk in the vanilla and salt. Slowly add about 3/4 cup hot chocolate mixture to the eggs, whisking constantly. (Tempering the eggs with a little bit of the hot chocolate mixture will prevent "scrambled eggs" when combining the two mixtures.) Add the egg mixture to the hot chocolate mixture and whisk to combine well.

Strain the batter through a sieve (to catch any cooked egg bits- I skipped this part, because I thought my batter looked quite free of scrambled eggs but then I detected one or two teeny egg bits in my slice of cake) and then pour batter into prepared pan.

Set cake pan in a large roasting pan and fill the pan with enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the center is shiny and set but still a bit jiggly.

Transfer cake pan to a cooling rack and cool for 20 minutes. Run a thin knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake. Place a cardboard round on top of the pan and invert the cake onto it. Remove pan and carefully remove the parchment paper. Refrigerate the cake for at least 2 hours before glazing with chocolate glaze.

Bittersweet Ganache
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

Place chopped chocolate in a medium bowl.In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. Remove pan from heat and add the chopped chocolate. Let stand for 1 minute then gently stir until chocolate is melted and the glaze is smooth. Gently stir in the vanilla.

Transfer glaze to a small bowl and cover the surface of the glaze with plastic wrap and let cool for 5 minutes at room temperature before using.

To glaze the cake:Place the chilled cake, still on the cake round, on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Slowly pour the hot glaze onto the center of the cake. Smooth the glaze over the top and sides, letting the excess drip onto the baking sheet.Scrape the extra glaze from the baking sheet and put it in a small ziploc bag. Seal the bag and cut a tiny hole in one of the bottom corners. Gently squeeze the bag over the top of the cake to drizzle the glaze in a decorative pattern. Refrigerate the cake at least one hour before serving.

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