Mother’s Day is just around the bend, so I’m thinking it’s time to start getting my act together. My mother literally birthed me, and aside from being kind of horrifying to think about, that’s a totally incredible thing. So while I may not be the perfect child, I know that I owe my mama something – not only for the whole birthing thing, but for all the years that I’ve managed to stay alive. So here’s to you, mothers: an honest-to-goodness thank you for everything you’ve done and continue to do. You’re all basically superwomen. The least I could do was make you a cake.
This cake is glorious in its simplicity. It’s not tiered, bedazzled, frosted, ornamented, or otherwise gussied up. It’s not trying to impress anyone, and it really does not care what you think of it. Its identity is tied to its plain-ness; its utter lack of pizzazz. And yet, it packs a real punch. It is unabashedly proud of itself, and it won’t pretend to be anything other than what it is: rustic, and honest, and pure, but boldly unpretentious and outstandingly straightforward.
If you’re not a chocolate fan, turn away now. This one means business. It’s devilishly dark and tastes just like a giant chocolate truffle – so you’ll only need a few bites to be satisfied. Well over 2 cups of chocolate goes into this cake, so make sure it’s the good stuff. Six ingredients (including water, which doesn’t really count, actually) is all you need. SIX! I told you, this cake couldn’t be more simple. But your mama will be oh so proud.
Flourless Chocolate Cake
by L., adapted from AllRecipes
19 oz bittersweet chocolate (I used Callebaut 70%)
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
6 eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (8 oz) butter, softened
Preheat your oven to 300F and line one 9 inch cake pan with butter (you can use parchment paper and butter if you want to be extra safe about it). Get a larger pan ready by the oven that the cake pan can fit inside – the cake will be baked in a water bath, so the pan should be able to hold enough water to go halfway up the side of the cake pan.
Dump the sugar, salt, and water into a small saucepan and heat on low, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved and the water is clear – about 3-5 minutes. Don’t allow it to boil. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Cut the butter into roughly 20 small pieces. It’s really important that it is soft enough, so microwave it in 5 second bursts if it’s still a little too cold. The ideal texture would allow it to easily be smushed between your fingers.
Chop your chocolate into even pieces. In a double boiler (I used my mixer bowl over a pot of water) or the microwave, melt the chocolate – slow and low is the way to go. Stir it occasionally. When it’s melted, pour the chocolate into a mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment. On low speed, add one piece of butter at a time until all incorporated. This will take 5-10 minutes – don’t rush it. You want the butter to totally melt into the chocolate while bringing its temperature down.
When all the butter is in, slowly pour in the sugar water and mix just until combined, making sure not to overmix it. Add the eggs, one at a time, on low speed until just combined. The batter should be silky smooth and slightly thick.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan, place the cake pan in the other pan you have ready and fill the outside pan with water until it comes halfway up the side of the cake, then pop it in the oven. I find this process is more easily achieved if the pan is already on the oven rack when I fill it with water.
Bake for 40-50 minutes, until set. The cake will still look shiny and wet, but if it doesn’t jiggle and the edges look semi-dry then it’s ready.
Let cool on a wire rack until room temperature, then wrap it up and refrigerate it over night. To de-pan it the next day, fill a larger pan with boiling water then place the cake pan into the water for 30 seconds. This softens the cake, making it easier to remove from the pan. Flip it out onto your serving plate. Sprinkle it with cocoa and serve it with homemade chantilly cream, to keep your life simple.