COUNTESS TOULOUSE-LAUTREC'S FRENCH CHOCOLATE CAKE
(Jon's favorite birthday cake)
~ adapted from MAIDA HEATTER'S BOOK OF GREAT CHOCOLATE DESSERTS
1 pound semisweet chocolate
5 ounces (1 1/4 sticks) sweet butter, room temperature
4 extra-large eggs, separated
1 Tbsp. unsifted all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- In an 8-inch springform pan, cut a round waxed or parchment paper to fit the bottom. Butter one side of paper and the sides of the pan (not the bottom). Place buttered paper in pan, buttered side up, and clamp shut.
- In top of double boiler, place coarsely chopped chocolate. Melt over simmering water, stirring occasionally with rubber spatula. Add 1/3 of butter at a time, each addition completely melted before adding next.Set aside to cool slightly.
- In small bowl beat egg yolks at high speed for 5-7 minutes, until pale and thick. Add Tbsp. of flour and beat on low only to incorporate. Gently fold beaten egg yolks to into chocolate.
- In another clean bowl, beat egg whites and salt until whites hold a soft shape. Add sugar and beat until whites hold definite shape but not too stiff or dry. Fold one-half beaten whites into chocolate -- don't be too thorough. Fold chocolate into remaining whites, handling gently until blended. Turn into prepared pan and rotate to level batter.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Cake will be soft (only 1 inch high in middle, rim higher and cracked --you'll think it's not done but don't worry). With a small sharp knife, carefully cut around side of hot cake, but don't remove sides. Let cake stand in pan until room temperature. Refrigerate several hours or overnight.
- To remove, cut around sides again with small sharp knife. Remove sides. Carefully insert a narrow spatula and invert on serving plate. Glaze with ganache.
- In double boiler ( or glass bowl over water), melt 6 ounces coarsely chopped semi-sweet chocolate with 2 ounces heavy cold cream until fully melted. Whisk in 2-4 ounces more cold heavy cream until smooth and shiny. Add 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter. If mixture becomes too thick, heat gently.
- Cover sides first then spread generous amount on top. Optional: top with toasted sliced almonds or dust with fine cocoa.
~ holds up well when frozen