1-1/4 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
10-1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into 1-inch pieces (I used Valrhona Le Noir Amer 71% Cacao-Dark Bittersweet Chocolate)
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks/6 oz/170g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, separated
1/3 cup whiskey, warmed slightly
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Confectioners' sugar OR Chocolate Ganache Topping (see recipe and instructions below)
Serve cake with:
Ice Cream or Whipped Cream
Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C). Line the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan (springform pan should be 2 1/2 to 3 inches deep) with parchment paper. Grease paper and sides of pan with butter or shortening.
In a small bowl, sift together the flour and the baking soda. Set aside.
In a double boiler or a metal bowl placed over simmering water, melt the chocolate. Turn off heat after melting chocolate; cover with lid and leave on stove top until ready to use.
Meanwhile, with the paddle attachment of an electric mixer, cream the butter until light. Gradually add 1 cup sugar and continue to cream the butter until the mixture is very light and fluffy.
Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, mixing well after each addition; then, beat in the whiskey and the vanilla. Stop the machine and scrape in the melted chocolate. Continue to mix until well combined. Remove the bowl from the machine and use a rubber spatula to fold in half the flour mixture. Fold in the remaining flour.
With a clean whisk and bowl, whip the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and continue to beat until the egg whites are shiny and firm, but not stiff. Stir 1/4 of the whites into the batter to lighten it, then fold in the remaining whites.
Spoon the batter into the prepared springform pan; level top with offset cake spatula or knife and bake in preheated 325°F (160°C) oven for 50 to 60 minutes (I recommend checking the cake for doneness after it has baked for 45 to 50 minutes, as "overbaking" cake will produce a dry cake that may have crusty edges and may even crack on top).
Remove cake from the oven and transfer to a wire cooling rack, leaving cake in pan. Run a sharp knife around the sides of the cake, loosening the cake from pan edges. Let cool completely on rack (approximately 1 hour), then carefully release and remove sides of springform pan.
Transfer cake to a serving plate or platter and dust cake with sifted confectioners' sugar, cut into thin wedges, and serve with ice cream or whipped cream.
Makes 8-12 servings.
If desired, a chocolate ganache topping would work well for icing top of cake. If you choose to ice cake, a dusting of confectioners' sugar over top of cake is not necessary.
Makes enough for an 8 or 9-inch cake
3/4 cup heavy cream
8 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
In small saucepan, bring cream to a boil. Remove from heat and add in chocolate. Stir until most of the chocolate has melted. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes. Stir or whisk very gently until smooth. If desired, add in 1 tablespoon of whiskey.
To Ice Cake:
Use a ladle and pour a small amount on top of cake. Use an offset spatula to move ganache from middle to sides. Add more as needed. Ladle around edge and allow to drizzle off. For a smoother look, finish with spatula.
Photograph taken by Diana Baker Woodall© 2004
Date: October 3, 2004