Sunday, June 17, 2012

La Bête Noire

Happy Father's Day! Or, if you prefer, Happy Falker Satherhood. Do something nice with your dad or that father figure in your life. I think we're doing yardwork and then going to the pool to relax. Perhaps I will prepare a nice meal later!

We're having some interesting dietary challenges in my family at the moment. For health reasons, my dad can have basically no sodium at all. Which makes a lot of baking a challenge. You don't really realize that a bit of salt can really add complexities to the flavor of many baked good, even if you can't actually taste the salt. It's like espresso powder heightening the richness of a chocolate cake. Additionally, my sister is eating a gluten free and largely dairy free diet, also for health reasons. She misses bread and cakes a lot. I would die, I think.

I wanted to make a universally enjoyable dessert that any member of my family could eat without having to worry. A flourless chocolate cake was the obvious answer. Now, I've made that on here before (You probably don't remember because the picture was ugly and the post was kind of dumb). But I've since learned that there are so many opportunities for failure in that recipe, and it often got stuck to the pan. I discovered this recipe last year and there is no going back (sorry Williams Sonoma). It's called La Bête Noire, or, in English, The Black Beast. And it is a beast. 18 ounces of chocolate in the cake itself, topped with 8 ounces in the ganache. Swoon. And there's no egg separating, no mixer, no nothing crazy. So sit back, relax, and enjoy. 

La Bête Noire 
from Bon Appétit

1 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, diced
18 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
6 large eggs
1 cup heavy whipping cream
8 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped

For cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 10-inch-diameter springform pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment round; butter parchment. Wrap 3 layers of heavy-duty foil around outside of pan, bringing foil to top of rim. Combine 1 cup water and sugar in small saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Melt butter in large saucepan over low heat. Add chocolate and whisk until smooth. Whisk sugar syrup into chocolate; cool slightly. Add eggs to chocolate mixture and whisk until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan. Place cake pan in large roasting pan. Add enough hot water to roasting pan to come halfway up sides of cake pan.
Bake cake until center no longer moves when pan is gently shaken, about 50 minutes. Remove from water bath; transfer to rack. Cool completely in pan.
For ganache:
Bring whipping cream to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and whisk until smooth. Pour over top of cake still in pan. Gently shake pan to distribute ganache evenly over top of cake. Refrigerate cake in pan until ganache is set, about 2 hours.


  1. Wow. This looks amazing - I very much want to eat it.
    I may have to take up baking here in Texas. I don't have to make it in a springform pan, right? It'll just be more difficult to cut?

    1. I very much wish I could give some to you. I think it would be fine in a normal pan. If you make it, let me know how it turns out!

  2. this looks delicious!!!

  3. Wow, what a stunning cake! Pure chocolate indulgence :)


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