Chocolate Cloud Cake
I had never paid much attention to this recipe in Richard Sax’s Classic Home Desserts until one day, I run across it while reading through a Nigella Lawson cookbook. She reprints it, exclaiming how wonderful it is. Figuring it must be a good recipe for one chef to reprint it in their own cookbook, I had to try it. And Nigella is right. It’s a great, flourless chocolate cake that’s not too heavy. Don’t skip on the whipped cream topping–that definitely adds a necessary piece to the overall mixture.
- 8 ounces very good bittersweet or unsweetened chocolate, chopped
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces
- 6 large eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp. cognac or brandy
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 3 tbsp. powdered sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- cocoa powder, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a 8 or 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Separate 4 of the eggs into yolks and whites, set aside.
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter, a few pieces at a time, until completely melted.
In a bowl, which together the 2 eggs with the four egg yolks. Add 1/2 cup of the sugar and whisk to combine. Pour in the warm chocolate mixture, whisking as you go, and finally add the cognac or brandy.
In a second bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the rest of the sugar and beat until softy mounded, where the egg whites hold their shape but do not yet form stiff peaks. Using a rubber spatula, fold in about 1/4 of the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture, and then fold in the rest until just blended. Pour into the springform pan.
Bake 30-40 minutes in the oven until the cake puffs and cracks, and you can see just the tiniest bit of jiggle in the center of the cake. Remove and let cool. The middle of the cake will sink rather dramatically.
To serve, use a knife around the edge of the pan to help release the cake from the springform. Whip the heavy cream with the sugar and vanilla until fluffy but not stiff. Either pour the cream into the middle of the cake depression and sprinkle with cocoa powder, or spoon the whipped cream over individual slices and add cocoa.