This cake is something between a soufflé and a dense chocolate brownie. It's incredibly light and cloud-like. Light in texture mind you, NOT light in calories. In spite of that fact, I've always felt that if you're going to indulge in dessert it should be one that falls somewhere between nirvana and heaven and this cake certainly doesn't disappoint. If indeed there is a heaven, and if I make it there, I want to eat this cake every single day.
Flourless Chocolate Cake with Orange-Scented Whipped Cream
Serves 8 to 10
FOR THE CAKE
12 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate
12 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 large eggs, separated
12 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
FOR THE WHIPPED CREAM
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
Zest of an orange, grated
1 large marshmallow, to stabilize* cream
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Line the bottom a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper and set aside. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate and the butter in a double boiler, or even better, in the microwave for about 2 minutes on medium power. Stir until smooth and set aside to cool.
In a medium bowl, beat the egg yolks with 6 tablespoons of the sugar until the mixture is pale yellow and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add vanilla, fold in the melted chocolate and set aside.
Meanwhile, beat the egg whites in another medium bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 6 tablespoons of sugar and beat until medium-firm peaks form. Lighten the chocolate mixture by folding in a third of the eggs whites, then fold the remainder gently into the chocolate mixture, being careful to just incorporate, but not overwork the batter. A few white streaks are okay. Pour into prepared springform pan and bake in the center of the oven for 40 to 50 minutes, until the top is puffed and cracked and a tester inserted in the middle comes out with moist crumbs attached. Cool the pan completely on a wire rack, don’t be alarmed when the center sinks in and forms a crater. To release, run a small sharp knife around the the edge of the cake and release the sides of the pan.
To make the orange scented whipped cream, whip the cream and vanilla until soft peaks form. Add the sugar, orange zest and the marshmallow to stabilize. Dollop the cream in the center of the cake and serve in large slices. Pure chocolate bliss!
*To “stabilize” whipped cream, beat as usual and whip in one large marshmallow that has been softened for about 10 seconds in the microwave.