I started making this cake after I viewed it on Food Network in 2006. It has been a hit with everyone, especially chocoholics. What's really nice is since it is so rich this cake can easily serve 12-14. I topped this one with a little shaved white chocolate but a simple whipped cream goes well with it or place a slice on some vanilla bean creme anglaise. You can make this in advance and freeze the cake, thaw it and then put the ganache on it.
Ingredients: serves 12-14
1 1/3 c Sugar, divided
3/4 c Brewed Coffee
7 oz. Bittersweet Chocolate, finely chopped or morsels (I use Ghirardelli)
2/3 c Dutch-processed Cocoa Powder
1/4 t Salt
1 T Brandy (or Kahlua)
3 lg. Eggs, separated plus 3 Egg Whites
1/3 c Cake Flour or Almond Meal
1/4 t Cream of Tartar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and position the rack in the center.
Pour about 1/2 inch water into a large roasting pan and place in the oven. (This will be the hot water bath for the cake.) Butter the bottom and sides of a springform pan. Line the bottom with a parchment paper round. Butter the paper. Wrap the pan in heavy duty aluminum foil. (This will prevent water from getting into the pan.)
Put 1 cup of sugar in a heavy duty sauce pan with the coffee and place it over high heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Off heat add the chopped chocolate, return to low heat. Keep stirring until the chocolate has dissolved and the texture is smooth. Remove from the heat. Whisk in the cocoa powder and the salt. Add the brandy. Whisk in the 3 egg yolks one at a time. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. After 10 minutes, whisk in the flour.
Using an electric mixer, beat the 6 egg whites with the cream of tartar on medium speed until soft peaks form. Turn the speed to high and gradually add the sugar while beating the egg whites. Beat until the peaks are stiff but not dry.
Mix 1/4 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Then gradually fold in the rest, making sure there are no white streaks. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake pan and then place in the hot water bath. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs attached. Remove the cake from the water and place on a rack to cool. Once the cake has cooled, remove the sides of the springform pan and invert the cake onto a cardboard round or flat plate. Chill the cake for 2 hours before covering it with the ganache.
(If you are making this in advance, once the cake is completely cool wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil and freeze. To thaw simply let the cake sit out on the counter and then proceed with the ganache.)
6 oz. Bittersweet Chocolate, finely chopped or morsels
1/2 c Heavy Cream
2 T Honey
Put the chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat the cream and the honey in the microwave on high for about 45 seconds. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, let sit 30 seconds, then stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth.
Remove the cake from the refrigerator and spread the ganache over the top and the sides of the cake. Serve the cake immediately or refrigerate. Bring the cake to room temperature before serving.
White Chocolate Shavings: optional
Melt the white chocolate and stir until smooth. Heat the back of a clean baking tray and spread the chocolate over it. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Remove from the refrigerator and using a knife, press down as you drag the knife (blade side down) on the chocolate.