When I offered to bake the cake for my husband and our friend Bob’s shared birthday party, I knew that something from a box just wouldn’t cut it. Since these are two of my very favorite people, I wanted to make something really special. After a bit of research, I finally found a recipe in my Mom’s Baking Illustrated cookbook and after a few simplifications, it could not have turned out tastier; it was decadent, chocolate-y, and all grown-up…
And, Good Heavens! It was so easy!
8 Ounces semi-sweet chocolate
1 Stick (1/2 Cup) + 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Optional: Berries, powdered sugar or cocoa powder for dusting, leaves and flowers for garnish
First, grease the sides of your shallow baking dish with a tablespoon of butter.
Next, use a pair of scissors to cut two long strips of parchment paper and lay them in a ‘X’ in the bottom of your dish. Cut a round of parchment paper and lay it over the ‘X’. You’ll pull up on the longer strips to lift the cake out neatly once it has cooled.
Preheat the over to 350. Fill a large baking or casserole dish with water and place it on the bottom rack. This set-up will act as a kind of humidifier inside your oven while your cake bakes.
Place the stick of butter and chopped bits of chocolate in a glass or metal bowl and set it over a pan of simmering water. You’ve just made a double-boiler! Stir the mixture with a heatproof spatula every 15-20 seconds until it is smooth and creamy.
Turn the burner off and let the mixture cool.
Crack your eggs into the bowl of an electric mixer and mix on high for five minutes. The eggs should double in volume.
Once the chocolate/butter mixture has cooled off a bit (you don’t want it to be hot enough to cook the eggs) add the entire egg-mixture and stir gently until everything is just blended.
Pour the batter into your prepared baking dish and bake for 22-25 minutes, until the edges resemble a brownie’s crust and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
Once the cake has cooled completely, remove it from the baking dish and set it on a serving plate. Trim off the parchment ‘handles’ but don’t worry about peeling away the bottom piece of parchment, it won’t be visible. Dust the cake with powdered sugar or cocoa powder and garnish with flowers, leaves, and berries. Refrigerate.
This cake is delicious served with hot coffee and vanilla ice cream!
Have you ever tried a flourless cake before? What’s your favorite kind of birthday cake?