One of my favorite people and dear friend is moving away. For her going away party, she asked that I make a chocolate cake – a “real chocolate cake”. I love a good chocolate cake and so was happy to oblige. The cake I made is a combination of several recipes: A chocolate cake base courtesy of the Mast Brothers from the February 2014 issue of Bon Appetit, made gluten-free with the use of an all-purpose gluten-free flour mix so that all the guests could enjoy, and a chocolate butter glaze from my favorite chocolate resource, Fran Bigelow‘s cookbook Pure Chocolate published in 2004. To complement the rich flavor of the chocolate, I served the cake with a raspberry sauce and unsweetened, lightly whipped heavy cream.
Since so many people have asked for the recipe, and because I’d like to make it again myself, I’m posting it here. It’s good for parties as it serves a crowd: the chocolate flavor is intense, so you may only need a small sliver – that is, until later in the evening, after a few nibbles on olives, nuts, cheese…when you’ll surely want another taste or two.
The cake is really easy to make, with just a few tips:
- Don’t overcook it or it’ll dry out. You want it to be tender and slightly fudge-like, so once the cooking time is up, test with a toothpick, and if it comes out clean, you are good to go.
- Make sure the cake is completely cooled before you glaze it, but not cold, as the glaze will stiffen and set up as you pour, making it harder to spread. If you are making it one day and glazing the next, wrap the cake in plastic wrap at room temperature. If you are making several days ahead, you can refrigerate; just bring back to room temperature before glazing.
- Let the glaze cool until it is the texture of runny yogurt: slightly thickened but still pourable. If it is too thick, put it back over the double boiler/bain marie to warm it up slightly and continue
- If the glaze on the top doesn’t end up smooth, don’t worry: use the flat edge of an off-set spatula to make even lines across the top, decorate with a few flowers, and your guests won’t care that glaze isn’t perfect!
- Don’t be tempted to over whip the cream, nor sweeten it. The cake is rich and sweet on it’s own, and a soft whipped cream is so perfect with it.
Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Butter Glaze, Raspberry Sauce and lightly whipped cream
For the cake: Preheat oven to 160°C/325°F. Lightly butter and flour a 9″/25 cm springform pan. Take a piece of parchment paper, cover the removable bottom of the cake pan, seal it into the pan, and cut away the excess with scissors. (this will make the cake easier to transfer to your serving platter after glazing.
1 cup / 225g butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cup all-purpose flour: regular or gluten-free
8 oz / 225g bittersweet chocolate, chopped at least 70% (I’ve used both Valrhona and Fazer with good success; Valrhona is noticeably better, so use if you can find it)
1 cup/250 ml sugar
4 large eggs
3/4 teaspoon salt
Set a medium-sized bowl over a pot of lightly simmering water (make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water). Add the chocolate, sugar and butter to the bowl and heat until the chocolate is almost completely melted. Remove from heat and continue stirring until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and the mixture is smooth and uniform. Cool completely; about 15 minutes.
It is easiest to use a hand-held mixer for the next step, but if you are using as stand mixer, transfer the chocolate mixture to the bowl of the stand mixer, or, even easier, use the bowl of the stand mixture for melting the chocolate in the first place.
With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs to the chocolate mixture, one at a time, making sure each thoroughly mixed in before adding the next one. Beat until the mixture has a mousse-like consistency. Add the salt and flour; mix until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan and smooth the top.
Place pan in the hot oven, and bake 55-65 minutes until the top is firm and the edges slightly darkened. I found that my cake was perfect after 55 minutes, but ovens are different, so watch it closely toward the end of cooking time.
Remove cake from oven and place on wire rack. Allow the cake to cool completely in pan before removing.
For the chocolate butter glaze:
4 oz / 115g bittersweet chocolate, chopped at least 70% (I’ve used both Valrhona and Fazer with good success; Valrhona is noticeably better, so use if you can find it)
1 stick/8 tablespoons/4 oz/ 115g butter at room temperature, cut into pieces
Set a medium-sized bowl over a pot of lightly simmering water (make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water). Add the chocolate to the bowl and heat until the chocolate is almost completely melted. Remove from heat and continue stirring until the chocolate is smooth. Add the softened butter and stir slowly and gently with a rubber spatula until no visible pieces of butter remain. The glaze should be glossy and smooth with a temperature of 80-85°F / 26-29°C. When stirred, it will hold a line on the surface for about 10 seconds before disappearing. If the glaze starts to harden, warm it briefly over the pan of simmering water.
To glaze the cake:
Set the cake, still on the removable, parchment-covered tray, onto a wire rack set over a parchment-lined oven pan to catch any chocolate glaze drips.
Starting about 1″/2.5 cm from the edge of the cake, begin pouring the glaze and allow it to run slowly and smoothly down the edge of the cake. Continue pouring until you have poured the glaze all the way around the edge. Then pour the remain glaze evenly into the middle of the cake and out toward the outside edges, letting any extra glaze run down the sides of the cake. If necessary, smooth the top of the glaze with an off-set spatula. Allow the glaze to set completely before transferring to a cake platter.
Garnish with fresh roses and fresh mint leaves. Serve with raspberry puree and lightly whipped cream.
To make the raspberry sauce:
2 pints/1 quart/1 liter/4 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook over a low heat until the sauce thickens slightly; about 10 minutes. Stir regularly so the sauce doesn’t scorch. Set aside to cool.
Serve in a small bowl alongside the cake.
For the lightly whipped cream:
1 cup/250 ml heavy cream
Pour the cold cream in to a mixing bowl. Using a mixer on high speed, beat the cream until it forms light, soft mounds. Be careful to not over whip.
Serve in a small bowl alongside the cake.