The Chocolate Divines (actual name, I did not make it up) I made for the last weekend’s wedding festivities were rustic beef stew to the Chocolate Layer Cakes’ uppity Wellington. Target to their Gucci. A knock off that looks like the real thing. Read: they were much easier to make.
In case you gave up on line 347 of the last cake post (I nearly threw in the hat around that point, trust me), this recipe’s for you. A couple bowls, one pan, and a little ganache pouring (way easier than it sounds), will give you a very sophisticated looking serious chocolate cake. This is the kind of fancy occasion cake I can get behind: a cake that dresses for the occasion, but with no degree in advanced architecture required for assembly.
When I say serious, I mean business; no flour here, just chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, with a little butter thrown in for good measure. The Divine eats like a sliceable chocolate truffle – richly decadent and smooth with a nice punch of espresso flavor. Make sure you use the best bittersweet chocolate you can find (I recommend Valrhona or Sharffenberger) because with ¾ of a pound of it in this baby you’ll really be able to taste the good stuff. A chocolate lover’s dream come true, this cake would make the best ever birthday, anniversary, graduation, any occasion at all gift.
The recipe is from my former business partner at Canto 6, Evangeline – a lover of all things sweet and decadent, Vange is a CIA (not that one) grad and baker extraordinaire, who taught me a lot over the years. She made this around Valentine’s Day at the bakery one year to great applause. The original recipe I think is from a small bakery she worked at in Ithaca, NY called Just Desserts, where I can only assume it acquired its dramatic, but well-deserved name. Makes one 9 inch cake which serves 12-15 – this mighty rich cake is best enjoyed in small slivers. I recommend raspberries, either fresh or muddled with this cake – the tartness makes a nice flavor foil and bonus they’re pretty too!
All images in this post are courtesy John Wang.
This recipe is in weight. See here for information on scales and conversion.
For the Chocolate Divine
340g, ¾ lb good quality bittersweet chocolate
340g, 3 sticks unsalted butter
295g, 10 ½ oz granulated sugar
7 large eggs
21g, ¾ oz instant espresso powder
170g, 6oz hot water
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Butter a 9 inch spring form pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
Update 1/29/11: I just made this recipe again this week. Baking this size reciepe in a 9 inch pan yeilds a cake that’s quite thick – a little too thick for my taste. If you have a larger pan (10 or even 12 inch), I recommend using it here.
Combine the chocolate and the butter in a double boiler (I use a metal bowl on top of a sauce pan with 2-3 inches of simmering water.) Heat until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs and the sugar. You want the eggs well beaten but without too much air incorporated. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the instant espresso powder and the water.
Add the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and mix until well combined. Mix in the espresso water and whisk well. Pour into the prepared pan and bake until set, 40-45 minutes.
Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until cold. The Divine can also be wrapped well in plastic wrap and frozen on a flat surface for up to 2 weeks.
For the Ganache Topping
170g, 6oz good quality bittersweet chocolate
¼ cup heavy cream
Combine the chocolate and the cream in a double boiler (I use a metal bowl on top of a sauce pan with 2-3 inches of simmering water.) Heat until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and set aside.
To Finish the Cake:
A handful of fresh raspberries
Powdered sugar for topping
You’ll need a base to sit your cake on; something the same size as the cake itself. I generally use the bottom piece of the spring form pan in which the cake was baked – be sure you remove the parchment paper from the bottom of the cake first! You can also use a piece of cardboard cut into a 9 inch circle – an empty cereal box works well for this. Alternatively, if you have a cake supply store near by, pick up a 9 inch cake circle.
Place the chilled cake with its most smooth side facing up on your base of choice, then place this on a wire rack set over a sheet pan.
Working quickly, pour most of the warm ganache over the top of the cake (reserve a few tablespoons for decoration.) If your ganache has cooled too much by the time you are ready to use it, simply re-warm briefly over a double boiler. Use an off set spatula to nudge the ganache over the edge of the cake. Shake the cake gently to smooth the ganache.
Place the remaining ganache in a piping bag fitted with a narrow round tip (#4), or use a Ziplock bag with a small hole cut in one corner. Working quickly, drizzle the cake with the remaining ganache to create a striped effect – this doesn’t have to be perfect, the trick is to go fast, so your lines are as straight as possible.
Using a large off set spatula, and your fingers as necessary, carefully transfer the cake from the wire rack to a serving platter and refrigerate until about 1 hour before you are ready to serve, to allow the cake to come up to room temperature. Garnish with fresh raspberries and powdered sugar, slice, and serve.