Please do not make any decisions to renounce the chocolate and butter variant because I am changing your life.
The mellow chocolate cake is one of the greatest achievements in the field of baking magic ever invented. It’s a smart little showstopper, the kind of thing that makes people say, “It’s so rich, I can only get one teensy record,” but you’re like, “I want to be the judge over that, thank you.” It is the perfect dessert to chase away the winter bubble, a cake that feels festive when the weather says otherwise.
There are as many varieties of flour-free chocolate cake recipes out there as there are brownie recipes and you will be hard pressed to go wrong with any of them. I discovered mine several years ago. (For the sake of good order, my colleague Ashlie Stevens’ gingerbread cloud version will knock you out.)
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I had ruthlessly offered to host a friend’s bridal show before I remembered that her mother was Ina Garten in her social set, a woman famous for her amazing parties and amazing food. I fussed and resented the entire menu, but this recipe from London’s River Café would somehow not stop calling my name. A streamlined version of the restaurant’s famous chocolate “nemesis” cake, it seemed like it would be either very good or very strange.
I can ‘t tell you a single other thing I did for that party, though the bride’s mother became a lifelong friend that day. It was definitely the cake.
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I’ve made this recipe for repetition over the years, and it has never failed me – not even once. This cake is a platonic ideal for a chocolate lover – soft and intense, but not too sweet. From the bridal shower to New Year’s Eve, it’s perfect for celebrating with an intimate group of friends – and it goes exceptionally well with a glass of champagne.
A word of warning: this is a very simple recipe, but it is also very ingredient and technology specific. There are only 3 ingredients, so choose the butter, chocolate and eggs you really love.
Yes, one really has to whip the eggs for 5 minutes; you really need a bain-marie; and you really need to cover it in foil and then remove the foil. See, this recipe is so good that if it encouraged you to dance a little, I would strongly advise you to do so. This one is absolute worth it.
Recipe: 15-minute chocolate cake
Inspired by “Italian Easy: Recipes from London’s River Cafe”
Dividends: 12 servings (or maybe 8, no judgment)
Baking time: 15 minutes
- 1 pound of chocolate with at least 70% cocoa solids, broken up into pieces (I like Lindt.)
- 2 1/2 sticks butter (I love Kerrygold.)
- 6 eggs, organic if possible
- Preheat the oven to 425 ° F.
- Grease a 10-inch springform pan generously and line the bottom with parchment paper. (No springform? You can do this in a cake tin of the same size, but it will be harder to release.)
- Put a medium-sized pot of water to simmer. You will whip your eggs in a bowl over this water, then fill it about halfway.
- In a large enough microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave for 1 minute. Stir and microwave at 15 second intervals until completely melted. (You can make the melt over a simmering bowl of water if you are inclined to; but I have never done that, and I will not ask you to try.)
- Break all the eggs into a bowl large enough to fit over the pan of water. Put the pan over the water and beat the eggs until they just start to thicken, about 1 minute or so.
- Remove the pan from the heat and beat the eggs for another 4-5 minutes until very light and frothy.
- Meanwhile, pour your hot water into a frying pan.
- Fold half of the eggs into the chocolate mixture to combine, then fold in the rest.
- Pour the dough into your springform pan, then cover with a lightly buttered sheet of foil.
- Bake for 5 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes.
- Take everything out of the oven. The cake should be slightly twisted in the middle. Take it out of the frying pan and let it cool completely.
- Remove the mold and sprinkle with pastry sugar, or serve with whipped cream and fruit.
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