If you have two hours you can make any day Valentine’s Day! The recipe is from an old “The Best of Bon Appetit” cookbook and can even be adjusted to be made for Passover. Nothing spells L-O-V-E like chocolate and this cake is rich without being overly sweet or cloying. If you missed out on Valentine’s Day, then make any night special with this dessert. The actual prep and baking time is under an hour, but the cake needs to cool before you can glaze it. It is easy enough for even a novice to make and wow a certain someone.
French Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Glaze
Yield: one 8-inch cake
1 cup raw almonds, skin on
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (I actually used a 64% Valrhona because I like my chocolate a little darker; however, go too dark and it won’t work)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated white sugar
3 eggs (regular or smaller “large” eggs)
1/4 cup fine dry breadcrumbs
Zest of 1 large navel orange
Chocolate Glaze (See recipe below)
2 ounces of unsweetened chocolate
2 ounces of semi-sweet or 64% chocolate (I don’t like things too sweet)
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons of honey
- Butter or use a spray like PAM on the bottom and sides of an 8-inch round cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment, spray that and set aside.
- Grind almonds in a blender or food processor with 1 Tablespoon of sugar and the breadcrumbs to prevent the almonds from forming a paste. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Melt chocolate in a bowl set over hot but not boiling water. Be sure that the bowl does not actually touch the water. Stir occasionally with a rubber spatula. Remove from the heat, just before all of the chocolate is melted. Stir to melt the remaining chocolate.
- Using a hand or standing mixer beat the butter until soft and fluffy. Gradually add in the sugar and beat constantly. Once the sugar has been incorporated, add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Don’t worry if things haven’t quite come together at this point. Everything will be fine.
- Add the breadcrumbs, almonds and orange rind. Mix through. Now add the chocolate in a stream, with the mixer on low. Mix thoroughly.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and gently shake the pan to even out the batter.
- Bake for about 30 minutes and allow to cool on a cake rack for 30 minutes. The center of the cake will be fairly moist still so you may have to give the cake a good bang with your knuckles to get it to fall out. Discard the parchment and allow the cake to cool completely. Don’t worry if the center sinks a bit. This is part of the cake’s charm.
- Once thoroughly cooled, place the cake on a rack or cake decorating plate over waxed paper. Pour the glaze over the top, carefully tipping the cake so that the glaze runs evenly over the top and sides. If necessary, smooth the sides with a metal spatula. If you wish, you can garland the rim with toasted slivered almonds.
- Combine the two chocolates, butter and honey in a bowl set over hot water. Melt, stirring.
- Remove from the heat and beat until cool but still “pourable” – just until it starts to thicken.