This year’s Thanksgiving dessert was the Bittersweet Deception cake from Bittersweet. Its texture is actually almost more of a mousse than anything else; very good. It looks a bit long, but it’s actually quite easy to make. (You will want to prepare it the previous day, however.)
We used 70% chocolate for it, which worked well. And we used a 10-inch round pan for the water bath; a 9-inch one might have worked in a pinch, I’m not entirely sure. We mostly stirred rather than folded the first third of the eggs. The unmolding didn’t go at all smoothly, but nobody complained about the way it looked after eating it.
Bittersweet Deception, from Bittersweet by Alice Medrich.
5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon rum or cognac
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cold large eggs
1 cold large egg white
An 8-inch round non-springform pan
A larger non-springform pan to use as a water bath, at least 2 inches deep
Powdered sugar for dusting
Lightly sweetened whipped cream
Raspberry puree or fresh raspberries
Position a rack in the lower third of an oven, and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the sides of the cake pan, and line the bottom with parchment paper. Put a kettle of water on to boil.
Place the chocolate into a large bowl and set aside. Combine the cocoa, flour, 1/2 cup of sugar, and salt in a small heavy saucepan. Whisk in enough of the water to form a smooth paste, then whisk in the remaining water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly (especially around the edges of the pan) to prevent scorching, until the mixture begins to simmer. Simmer very gently, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Pour the hot mixture over the chopped chocolate, and stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Whisk in the rum and vanilla.
Beat the eggs, egg white, and the remaining 1/2 cup sugar with an electric mixer at high speed until nearly doubled in volume, 5 to 6 minutes. (The eggs will be very foamy but liquid rather than thick.) One third at a time, fold the eggs into the chocolate mixture. Scrape the batter into the cake pan and smooth the top.
Put the cake pan in the larger pan. Pour enough boiling water into the larger pan to come halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake until the cake rises and crusts slightly on top and the surface springs back when gently pressed, about 30 minutes. (The cake will still jiggle in the center, like very firm jello, and the interior will still be quite gooey.) Remove the cake pan from the water and cool completely on a rack. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight before serving.
To unmold, run a thin knife around the edges to release the cake from the pan. Invert onto a plate, and peel off the parchment liner. Optionally, dust powdered sugar over the top and/or add whipped cream and/or raspberries.
This post has not been revised since publication.