Recipe: Flourless Chocolate Cake with Ganache

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Ganache Glaze
Inspired by/adapted from Bon Appetit's 1999 recipe

Flourless Chocolate Cake
12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
6 medium or large eggs, separated and at room temperature
12 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
75 grams (or about 2 to 3 ounces, or 1/3 cup) semisweet chocolate, chopped

Preheat oven to 350°F. Using cooking spray or butter, grease a 9-inch-diameter springform pan, and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper.

If your pan is flimsy or thin, you may want to wrap the outside in aluminum foil to protect the cake from too much direct heat. The pan I used had thick sides, so I left it bare.

Over a bane marie, melt the butter and 12 oz. chocolate, slowly, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula, until smooth and glossy. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly, but do not refrigerate.

Using electric mixer, beat the egg yolks with 6 tablespoons of sugar in large bowl until very pale, at least 3 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, fold and blend the lukewarm chocolate mixture into the yolk mixture.

Using clean dry beaters, whip egg whites plus 1/4 teaspoon salt in another large bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 6 tablespoons sugar while whipping. Turn off beaters, lick, and then using a rubber spatula, fold the whites into the chocolate mixture in three batches. This step may take some time, but the batter should remain voluminous! Keep folding until all the streaks have disappeared and the batter is one even chocolate color.

Gently pour the batter into prepared pan, making sure the parchment stays in place. Set on the middle rack of the oven.

Bake cake until top is puffed and cracked and you can smell a strong chocolate aroma, about 45 to 50 minutes. Cool cake in the pan on a wire rack. The cake will fall, which sounds sad until you realize you can nibble the broken edges, which are the most delicious part, without anyone knowing. Do try to refrain from eating all the crackled top, as it makes the finished cake yummy as well.

Gently press down the crusty top to make evenly thick cake. Loosen the cake from the pan by tugging the edges of the parchment. Remove pan sides. Place a 9-inch-diameter plate or cardboard circle (covered in foil if you like) on top of the cake and invert it. Peel off the rest of the parchment paper slowly.

Make the ganache over a bain marie. Add the cream and sugar first, stirring to dissolve, then add the chocolate pieces. Stir until smooth.

Once the cake has cooled, set it on a wire rack over a baking sheet, or on a serving platter with strips of wax paper tucked just under the edges (to catch the drips, but be removed before serving). Pour the ganache onto the center of the cake, then smooth it slowly toward the edges until it drips over. Use a spatula to smooth all surfaces, and if necessary, refrigerate for 15 minutes to firm. Serve at room temperature, but store in refrigerator.