Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Baked Fudge Cake

What better way to kick off posts from The Bad Girl's Kitchen: Chocolate. And not just chocolate, mind you, this is rich and decadent and smooth and delicious. And easy! It's from my cookbook, Short and Sweet by Melanie Barnard. It just happens to be pictured on the cover, above. This is a cookbook I turn to time and again for elegant, delicious, last minute desserts. This dessert in particular has had a starring role at many adult birthday parties at our house (even my husband has made it!)

1 pound (2-2/3 cups) semisweet chocolate chips or semisweet chocolate bar, chopped
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons instant espresso or coffee powder
1 cup heavy cream, chilled, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan. Line the bottom with a round of waxed or parchment paper and butter the paper. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the chocolate and butter together, stirring until the chocolate is about half melted. Remove the pan from the heat and stir until the mixture is melted and smooth. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, begin beating the eggs with an electric mixer on medium-low speed until frothy. Raise the speed to high and beat until the eggs are light in color, thick, fluffy, and almost tripled in volume, about 5 minutes. Beat in the flour and espresso or coffee powder. Stir about one-fourth of the egg mixture into the chocolate to lighten it, then fold the chocolate mixture into the eggs.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 17 minutes. Cool the pan on a rack for about 10 minutes, then refrigerate until just firm enough to cut, about 30 minutes. At this point, the cake will be firm and fudgy about one-third of the way to the center, and the center will be softly set like a mousse. (The dessert can be refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 1 month.)

Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled. Shortly before serving, whip the cream to firm peaks. Cut the dessert into slim wedges (trust me, this is rich!) and place a dollop of whipped cream on top of or alongside each serving.

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