When developing my 2016 food memoir, we tested perhaps a few too many chocolate cake recipes for one sane writer. The search for winners in our Wit’s End Chocolate Cake Hall of Fame included contributions from friends, family, old cookbooks, new bloggers, faded newspaper clippings and a stack of old Gourmet magazines I only recently ditched—The Overdue House Edit is still in systems check mode as I write. Go away, TV producers. I’m not quite at the hoarding stage. Yet.
Four chocolate cakes made it into the final edition: our family birthday go-to (basically the
Sports Cakes Illustrated cover model), a lucky New Year’s ring cake, a Mocha Yule log I make only at Christmas, and a Chocolate Dulce de Leche Cake for those who like their chocolate tinged with caramel. I love all of these equally for different occasions. Readers have also let me know their approval. Chocolate Cake people are a very specific kind of crazy. They’re my kind of extra.
Still, there remained others that had to be edited out for no reason other than space. The recipe that follows is one of them. I’ve made it often for gluten-free guests, and serious chocolate lovers who don’t blush when I tell them I’ve serving sex on a plate.
CHOCOLATE TRUFFLE MOON CAKE
This is a recipe from one of my favourite food writers, David Lebovitz. What I love most about it is the lunar-like appearance on the top of the tart that results from wrapping it in foil and baking in a bain-marie (steam bath). It is super easy to make and requires only four ingredients. My tip: use the very best chocolate you can find for this.
What you need:
- 12 ounces good-quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup (two sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 6 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
What you do:
Preheat the oven to 350ºF
1. Grease well a 9-inch round cake pan* on bottom and sides. Cut out a round of parchment paper for the bottom and place in pan.
2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the room temperature eggs and sugar.
4. Whisk in the melted chocolate mixture until smooth.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and cover the top of the cake pan snugly with a sheet of foil. Put the pan into a larger baking pan, such as a roasting pan, and add enough hot water to the baking pan to reach halfway up to the outside of the cake pan. I usually just add the water I’ve just used from the bottom of the double boiler.
5. Bake the cake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes until just set in the centre. Lift the cake pan from the water bath and remove the foil. Admire the bubbles on the top which mimic the surface of the moon! Let cake cool completely on a cooling rack. Run a hot knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the cake. Put a plate on top and flip it over to remove the parchment paper. Flip it again onto a serving plate.
7. Serve with a tiny dollop of whipped cream. Because I adore chocolate and orange together, I grate a tablespoon of orange zest into my cream (as well as adding a pinch of sugar and vanilla extract) but you could also serve it without a thing. Ice cream is too much. I don’t say that often but this is a very rich truffle-like texture. Don’t ruin it with garnish.
Slice up tiny wedges. It will serve easily ten people. Unless they are serious chocoholics. It will keep for five days in the fridge.
NOTE: I have also made this cake in springform pans. If using any springform pan, wrap the pan well in foil all-around before placing it into the larger roasting pan.
Still swooning for chocolate?
Here are a few more chocolate recipes you may want to try:
And because Cupid’s Big Day is Friday, some poetry (and more sugar) for you:
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