Fallen Chocolate Cake

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This month’s issue of Bon Appetít seemed compiled just for me. The cover story is HOT SOUP (something I love), there’s a recipe for butterscotch pudding (something I’ve never made but have loved from afar), a piece on meal planning by these guys (one of my weaknesses), and a spread on the 20 most important restaurants in America (bucket list!). However, the first recipe I tried from this issue was not the butterscotch pudding, it was the Fallen Chocolate Cake on page 93.

My favorite kinds of desserts are the ones where the science and alchemy and mystery that take place in the oven is evident in the results. These kinds of desserts have cracks and swells, golden caramelization, seeping juices, and rustic crusts. It’s why I love baking pies and cobblers even when I’m not a huge fan of the fruit inside.

Chocolate desserts can often be overwrought, too composed. So I was thrilled to see this fallen chocolate cake in all its crumbling, crackly glory. It happens to be a flour-less cake, so the gluten-free among you, rejoice! It is definitely not vegan, clocking in with six eggs, one stick of butter, and a heaping helping of mascarpone and whipped cream. Who cares! You can have salad for dinner and cake for dessert.

 

Fallen Chocolate Cake Recipe via Bon Appetít

You can also view the recipe at BonAppetít.com.

  • Cake 
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1″ pieces,
  • plus more at room temperature for the pan
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar, divided, plus more for the pan
  • 10 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (61%-72% cocoa), coarsely chopped*
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. espresso powder**
  • Topping:
  • 1 cup chilled heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone
  • 3 Tbsp. powdered sugar
  • Equipment:
  • A 9″ diameter springform pan
  • *Go for a dark, rich chocolate, the fancier the better.
  • **My addition, not in the original Bon Appetít recipe.

For the cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly butter the springform pan and dust with sugar, tapping out any excess.
  • Combine the chocolate, oil, and 1/2 cup of butter in a large heatproof bowl. Set over a saucepan of simmering water and heat, stirring often, until melted. Remove the bowl from the saucepan.
  • Separate four eggs, placing the whites and yolks in separate medium bowls. (I put the whites directly into the bowl of my stand mixer.) Add cocoa powder, vanilla, salt, 1/4 cup sugar, and remaining 2 eggs to the bowl with yolks and whisk until smooth. (There may be a few small lumps, but get it as smooth as possible.) Gradually whisk the yolk mixture into the chocolate mixture, blending well.
  • Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the egg whites until frothy. With mixer running, gradually beat in 1/2 cup of sugar; beat until firm peaks form.
  • Gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture in two additions, folding until just incorporated after each addition. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan; smooth the top and sprinkle with the remaining two tablespoons of sugar. (I baked this on top of a sheet pan to make it easier to remove from the the oven.)
  • Bake until the top is puffed and starting to crack and the cake is pulling away from the edge of the pan, 35-45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let the cake cool completely in the pan. The cake will collapse in the center and crack further as it cools. (My cake was probably done at 35 minutes but it didn’t seem sufficiently cracked to me, and I let it go another five minutes. That was almost too long and there were a few dark spots on top. Use your best judgement and keep in mind that this cake will probably look slightly different for everyone.)
  • Bon Appetít says that you can bake this one day ahead, and store the cake in the pan, covered, in an airtight container, at room temperature.

For the topping

  • Using an electric mixer on medium high speed, beat the cream, mascarpone, and powdered sugar in a medium bowl until soft peaks form.
  • Remove sides of the springform pan from the cake. Mound the whipped cream mixture in the center of the cake.
The cake in my oven. See how nice and puffed up the top is?

The cake in my oven. See how nice and puffed up the top is?

Normally when I bake with springform pans, I sheepishly serve the cake still on the bottom piece of the springform pan. This time I took the risk of lifting it off the pan and onto a plate. I used a long, offset spatula and my bench scraper to support each side of the cake as I moved it to the plate. If you do this, definitely wait until it’s completely cooled! If you’re not comfortable making the move, don’t bother! No one will care how you serve this beautiful cake.

Here's the cake right out of the oven.

Here’s the cake right out of the oven.

After a few minutes you’ll notice the center slowly sinking.

The cake after it cooled.

The cake after it cooled.

I think this cake is perfect for a dinner party. It’s sophisticated but casual. It’s a beautiful presentation without trying too hard.

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And most importantly, this cake is exquisite. It has the impossible to resist combination of light and rich, and the mascarpone adds a creamy, melt in your mouth counterpoint to the chocolate.

Okay, by now you ought to be ready to plan your dinner party. Should I expect my invitation by mail or e-vite?

Thanks for reading!

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Next Up
Storage Wars and the Pull Out Pantry
Previously
Roasted Coconut Chips by Trader Joe’s

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