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Classic French Chocolate Cake

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Bake this lovely chocolate cake in a 9 inch tin so that it is not too dense: it’s so rich you will only eat a small slice. It’s up to you whether you want it to ooze in the middle or to be firm. We give you timings for both. It’s genuinely a chocolate cake to die for and even novice bakers will get a good result, if you follow the instructions.

Ingredients

250g butter
250g chocolate (70%)
6 eggs
200g caster sugar
80g plain flour
1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4. Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Grease a 9 inch (23 cm) loose-bottomed cake tin and line it with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper.

2. Melt the 250 g butter with the 250 g chocolate in a microwave or in a heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of boiling water (a bain marie), making sure that the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl. Stir it gently once or twice.

3. While the butter and chocolate are melting, beat the eggs with the sugar with an electric whisk or in a stand mixer until almost white and creamy and tripled in size. The mixture should be light and frothy.

4. Fold the warm melted butter and chocolate mixture into the egg and sugar mixture gently, making sure you don’t remove the air in the mixture. Mix only until there are no more streaks and everything is amalgamated. Add the flour and fold in very gently until it is incorporated, making sure not to knock the air out of the mixture. Pour into the greased cake tin and place it gently on a baking tray. Place the baking tray in the middle rung of the oven and bake for 20 minutes for a soft centre and 25 minutes for a firmer centre. The cake will show light cracks on the edge but look wobbly in the centre.

5. Remove the cake from the oven and leave it to sit in the cake tin, on a baking rack, until cool. Run a knife around the edge of the cake tin to free up the cake (otherwise the cake will stick to the edge of the tin and when you unhinge the bracket, the cake will crack). Loosen the bracket on the side of the tin and allow the cake to come away from the edge. Free the cake gently from the base, leaving the parchment attached to the cake. Peel the parchment off the cake.

To serve
This chocolate cake is very rich and unctuous so you can easily eat it on its own but if you wish, dust it with icing sugar or chocolate shavings and serve it with cold whipped cream, fromage frais, caramel sauce or crème fraîche. It is excellent with an espresso.

Recipe Variation and Tips
Use only the best grade chocolate for this cake – you need it to be 70% cocoa solids – and feel free to use a flavoured chocolate: mint is good for a Mint Chocolate Cake or use Orange or Nut chocolate. As long as it is the best quality chocolate, your cake will taste wonderful.

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