La Bête Noire – The Black Beast

Ever since I saw an episode of “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” on Food Network, I have been wanting to make a flourless chocolate cake.  Aarón Sanchez noted on the cake episode that a flourless chocolate cake from the bakery Cake Flour was the best cake he’d ever eaten.  I started looking for a recipe, and I came across one from Epicurious called “La Bête Noire” or “The Black Beast.”  A cake called a “beast” is something I can get behind.

The cake calls for 1 cup of water, 3/4 cup sugar, 18 ounces of bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, 9 tablespoons of butter (plus more for greasing the pan), and 6 large eggs.  The ganache calls for 1 cup of heavy whipping cream and 8 ounces of bittersweet or semisweet chocolate.  This is not for the faint of heart.  Or anyone wanting to keep some semblance of a figure.

Start by tracing on parchment paper a circle the size of the bottom of your spring form pan.  The recipe suggests a 10 inch pan.  Butter the pan, put the parchment paper in the bottom, and then butter the parchment paper too.

draw around the bottom of the pan

Wrap the bottom of the pan, up to the top, in 3 sheets of aluminum foil.

I chopped up the chocolate for the cake while I started the simple syrup (water and sugar).

stir until dissolved, then let simmer for 5 minutes

Take the simple syrup off the stove to cool slightly, and while it is cooling, melt the butter.  Then whisk in the chocolate.

melting 9! tablespoons of unsalted butter

After the chocolate has fully melted, add the simple syrup to the chocolate.

Let this cool for a little while before you add the eggs so they don’t cook in the chocolate.

Whisk all of this together until fully incorporated.  Then pour into the buttered spring form pan.

Place the pan in a roasting pan and fill with water half-way up the spring form pan.  I don’t have a roasting pan, but luckily I had bought this aluminum roasting pan at the Dollar Tree for another reason and ended up not using it.  I DO NOT recommend using one of these!  When I got the pan out, I nearly spilled the boiling water everywhere because it is so flimsy!  Bake at 350 degrees F or until the middle doesn’t move when you shake the pan.

After it is done, let the cake cool fully in the pan on a cooling rack.

Because I started this after work, I didn’t have enough time to let it cool fully before I covered it in ganache.  So, I just stuck it in the fridge and made the ganache the next day.

For the ganache, bring the cream to a simmer over medium heat, then whisk in the remaining 8 ounces of chopped chocolate.

whisk until smooth

Pour this over the cake and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  

Here’s the final result!  Make sure to wet a thin knife with warm water to loosen the edges before you open the spring.

the finished product

Now, I could have made this prettier with some kitchen tools and warm water, but I was invited to dinner (so glad I had something great to bring!) and didn’t have time to make it pretty.  This cake does not disappoint, unless you’re my husband who hates chocolate.  It was a hit with the chocolate lovers at the party.  It melts in your mouth, and you only need a tiny little slice to feel like you’ve had dessert.  Seriously, best cake I’ve ever eaten, if I do say so myself.