The Devil is in the Details

September 23, 2008

I hate to admit it, but I have always been disappointed with so-called Devil’s Food Cake. When you hear that name, you (or at least I) think of something thick and evil, rich and seductive; and more often than not, Devil’s Food Cake is just plain ol’ chocolate cake. Nothing really special.

This cake, however, though it goes by another name, is exactly what a devil’s food cake should be. It’s just so incredibly evil. The kind of thing you just can’t stop eating even though you know you really should. It calls your name in the middle of the night and smugly tempts you to forget any diet you might have been considering. And with a thick layer of ganache on top, it’s well worth every pound you might gain.

I have wanted to make this flourless cake for a while now and I gotta say, it’s well worth the wait. It came out even better than I dared hope, and considering just how beautiful this thing is, it’s perfect for any and every occasion.

Flourless Chocolate Cake
a.k.a.: The Devil Made Me Do It Cake
The Boston Globe

12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
11 tablespoons (1 stick plus 3 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Joy of Baking

8 ounces chocolate, finely chopped
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon chocolate liqueur

Preheat oven to 350F

Butter a 9-inch springform pan with removable sides. Line the bottom with a round of parchment paper cut to fit it exactly. Butter the parchment. Line the outside of the pan with a double-thickness of foil, pressing the foil onto the sides.

In a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of hot, but not boiling, water, combine the chocolate and butter. Heat, stirring constantly, just until the chocolate melts. Remove the bowl from the pan and wipe the bottom with a clean cloth. Stir in the vanilla and set it aside to cool slightly.

With an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar at high speed for 8 minutes or until thick and pale yellow.

Fold one-third of the egg mixture into the melted chocolate to lighten it. Then fold the remaining egg mixture into the chocolate as lightly as possible until no yellow patches show.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and set the pan in the center of a large roasting pan. Pour enough hot tap water into the roasting pan to come about one-third of the way up the side of the cake pan. Carefully place the roasting pan in the middle of the oven. Bake 43 to 45 minutes or until the top of the cake is set with a firm crust, but the inside is still moist.

Carefully remove the roasting pan from the oven. Lift the pan out of the water carefully, run a thin knife around the edge of the cake, remove the foil from the pan then set the cake in the pan on a rack to cool completely. Don’t release the sides.

Cover the pan with a clean piece of foil and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Remove the cake from the refrigerator. Release the spring on the pan and remove the ring. Invert the cake onto a flat plate or cookie sheet. Insert a narrow metal spatula knife between the bottom of the pan and the parchment paper, moving it just enough to release the bottom of the pan. Peel off the parchment. Invert the cake back onto the bottom of the pan.

Brush any loose crumbs from the cake and place cake on a wire rack again.  Put the wire rack on a baking sheet to catch any of the ganache that will drip off. 

Place the chopped chocolate for the ganache in a medium sized stainless steel bowl. Set aside. Heat the cream and butter in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil. Immediately pour the cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Stir with a whisk until smooth. If desired, add the liqueur.

Using a cake spatula, cover the sides and top of the cake with about 2 tablespoons of the ganache. Refrigerate cake for 5 minutes to set the crumb coat. 

Pour the remaining ganache into the center of the cake. Working quickly, spread with a spatula, using big strokes to push the ganache over the sides of the cake, to create an even coating. If there are any bare spots on sides of cake, cover with leftover ganache.

Decorate as desired. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Enjoy.