When you invite friends over to celebrate it's important that the meal end with a special dessert. To me, special means something rich and chocolaty, which is why I made this flourless chocolate cake. It's my special cake that I make for very special occasions.
I discovered this recipe in a former life when I was working crazy hours at my job. And by crazy I mean that I went to work at three in the afternoon and arrived back home around midnight. I was often too wound up to go to bed so I would watch TV until wee hours of the morning, which is how I discovered reruns of Wolfgang Puck's Cooking Class.
I loved that show because you actually learned something. Every episode focused on a specific ingredient or technique or both. When I started watching it I didn't know much about cooking and I credit a lot of what I've learned to that show. I wish they still made new episodes.
I have to say the only good thing that came out of working that crazy schedule was all the things I learned from Wolfgang Puck. I've made many things from that show, but, by far, my most favorite is the flourless chocolate cake. I've made it many times and it's my go-to dessert for any special occasion.
Wolfgang Puck's Flourless Chocolate Cake
4 ounces unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
8 ounces, bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
5 eggs, separated
Pinch of salt
2/3 cup of sugar
Powered sugar, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour a 10-inch round cake pan.
Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl by microwaving it in 30 seconds intervals. At the end of each 30 second interval stop to stir. I'm sure Chef Puck would be very upset that I don't melt my chocolate using the double boiler method, but I have found that it works just as well in the microwave. Just be careful not to cook it too long and stir frequently. In my experience I have found that it usually takes 2-3 30 second intervals for it to melt.
In another bowl, whisk together the eggs yolk and all but 3 tablespoons of the sugar. Stir the melted chocolate into the yolks until combined.
As I mentioned, I've made this cake quite a few times and have discovered there are two critical steps in the recipe. The first critical step is whipping the egg whites to the right consistency. First, beat them on medium speed with an electric mixer until they are stiff enough to hold a soft peak. Then slowly add in the 3 tablespoons of sugar and beat them just until they tighten up, but are not dry. If you over beat them your cake will be too dry. Gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture until combined and then pour all of it into the cake pan.
The second critical step is baking the cake. The original recipe says to bake it for an hour and fifteen minutes, but I have discovered it takes less time. Every oven varies, so I recommend baking it for 45 minutes to an hour. Start checking it at 45 minutes and, if necessary, continuing baking it until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Remove it from the oven and turn it out onto a wire rack to cool. The center of the cake may sink a bit, which is fine. Once cooled, place the serving platter on top of the cake and, holding on to both the dish and the rack flip the cake over. Garnish with powdered sugar before serving.