Before I attended culinary school in France, I enrolled in a one-week career discovery program at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in Napa, CA. The focus of program was professional baking and pastry arts and it helped me decide that I in fact wanted to get a culinary degree. One of my favorite recipes from the program was this flourless chocolate cake. It is a fairly simple and straightforward recipe to prepare yet people always seem so amazed by it… When you are entertaining that is what you ultimately want: an impressive dessert that is not hard to make!
8 ounces butter
1 lb. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
½ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup powdered sugar, for garnish
Raspberries, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Fill a small pan with water and heat over high heat. Place a metal or glass bowl over the pan (the bottom of the bowl should not be touching the water). Add the butter and chocolate to the bowl and allow to melt over the steam of the water . Once the butter and chocolate are melted, take the bowl off the water and allow the chocolate and butter mixture to cool down to room temperature.
In the meantime, grease the sides of 9-inch cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Using a mixer, whisk the whole eggs and sugar on high speed until double in volume, about five minutes. Add the almond extract and salt.
Fold about one third of the chocolate and butter mixture into the eggs until only a few streaks of chocolate are visible. Continue to gradually add the remaining chocolate and butter mixture to the eggs, gently folding until the batter is homogenous.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth the surface with a spatula. Place the cake pan into a water bath (place the cake pan into a larger cake or roasting pan and pour hot water in between the two pans until the water reaches half way up the side of the smaller cake pan.) Place in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes. The cake will have slightly risen, the edges will have just began to set and the center of the cake will register a temperature of 140°F. Remove from the oven, cool and refrigerate overnight.
Warm slightly and run a small knife around the cake to remove from the cake pan. Invert it onto a platter and remove the parchment paper. Dust with the powdered sugar and serve with raspberries.