There are few words to describe something so immediately gratifying, so impeccably perfect as a piece of your favorite chocolate cake.
My Israeli aunts Amira and Miriam are really old school when it comes to hospitality. You'll rarely show up unannounced for an afternoon tea and find that there isn't some splendid dessert or an assortment of freshly baked cookies that come sauntering out of the kitchen, as if made just for the occasion. And in fact, that's really why they're there. For a drop by. For you.
I love this. Traditional or not, the meaning behind having something sweet ready to serve says something about the quality of spontaneity in Israeli culture; that your neighbor, friend, or relative may stop over for some connection and conversation.
After all, what is life all about, if not being and sharing with others? Amira shared this special Italian chocolate cake with us one afternoon a few years ago and it is hands down one of the most sublime little chocolate cake recipes to pull out of your back pocket.
It's not cloyingly sweet and the surprise is it has both a moist, rich quality from the butter and bittersweet chocolate and at the same time, a light ethereal quality given by the whipped egg whites.
When it bakes, it puffs up beautifully. After a half hour or so, it will begin to cave and take on a rustic, broken like crust. Don't fret. It's perfect as is.
Once it's cooled down, make it snow with confectioner's sugar.
Whenever I make one of Amira or Miriam's cake recipes, I think about what it means to make a home, what it means to have it open for others to be comfortable guests, to feel welcome, well fed and loved.
Hope you'll enjoy what has become my favorite chocolate cake recipe. XOXO-D
Serving Size: 8-10 People
200g or 7 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
200g or 7 oz. unsalted butter
6 large eggs (room temperature), separated
250g or 1 ¼ cups sugar
150g or 1cup finely ground almonds
2 Tbsp. rum, frangelico or vanilla extract
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting (optional)
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius or 325 degrees F.
Grease a 23cm or 9” springform pan with butter. Set aside.
Heat the chocolate and butter over a bain marie until melted. Cool slightly.
Whip the egg yolks over medium high, gradually adding 150 g or 2/3 cup of the sugar for 5 minutes until thick, fluffy and pale yellow.
After 5 minutes, incorporate the chocolate and butter into the egg yolks. Next gently add the almond flour and liquor/vanilla.
In a separate clean bowl, whip the egg whites with remaining sugar until stiff and glossy. Fold the whites into the chocolate mixture in 1/3rds.
Bake for 55 minutes. Cool and serve.
Dust with confectioner’s sugar if desired.