This is a guest post from my friend Felipe Tapia, who is thinking of starting a food blog and wanted to try his hand at a post and see how it feels. His culinary love is baking, and we got acquainted over a big discussion about fondant. Felipe is a modern Renaissance Man, who by day is a computer maven IT guy, and by night bakes, plays cello and piano, and is a photography buff. At one time he played in a well-known String Quartette and was thinking about being the next YoYo Ma for his career. And he has a photo and camera blog, Ciroflex.net, where he blogs about vintage cameras (the ones with film, remember those?). He has a darkroom at home where he is known to disappear for hours. Felipe took the photos for this post and he has shown me photos of some of the cakes he has created, like one for his son that looked like an electric guitar. This man is smart and interesting, and I hope you enjoy his post.
“I grew up in a family with a sweet tooth. The mere mention of a Super 8, cuchufli, manjar, or just straight up chocolate will send my family into a frenzy. As a young kid I never understood why my mom preferred dark chocolate over smooth and creamy milk chocolate. Now I am older and have learned to appreciate the sultry and velvety textures hidden in a square of cacao. 70% or greater, of course.
This new appreciation has also lead to discovering wonderful pairings. Chocolate with fruit is a classic. Chocolate with nuts, pretzels, popcorn, graham crackers and marshmallows (smores!), toffee, caramel, and peanut butter. Chocolate on toast? Yes please. Cheese and chocolate? Hear me out on this one. The acidic and nutty flavors of cheese compliment the sweet and bitter cacao. Dark chocolate truffles pair well with a sheep’s milk cheese, such as manchego.
Now I’m getting thirsty. Shall we have some wine with our chocolate? A zinfandel goes great with dark chocolate and milk chocolate is delicious with sauvignon blanc. Beer and chocolate? My absolute favorite! Any beer goes well with a good dark chocolate. I could go on, but if I don’t stop I just might leave my desk and never finish this post for Lynne.
I’ve taken a deep breath and composed myself. I’m back on track to continue with my recipe. Out of all the pairings listed above I’ve chosen to stick with chocolate and chocolate. After all, that’s what this post is all about. I found this recipe in the 2006 September issue of Bon Appetit. The name of this chocolate cake is La Bete Noir, which translates to The Black Beast. This is a flourless chocolate cake and it is not for the faint of heart. Cut into thin slices and serve with a dollop of fresh whipped cream. To get the best clean cut wedges, heat the edge of the knife before cutting. The knife will slide straight down and not cling to the cake.
I would like to thank Lynne for letting me share this recipe and for giving me a spot in her blog. I’m honored to be here and I hope that you enjoy making and eating “The Beast” just as much as I do.”
Wrap three layers of foil around the bottom of springform pan.
Place springform in roasting pan.
And here it is, La Bete Noir, in all its glory.
La Bete Noir
1 cup water
¾ cup sugar
9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, diced
18 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
6 large eggs
Ganache (recipe below)
Lightly Sweetened Whipped Cream
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Butter a 10-inch-diameter springform pan. Line bottom of pan with a parchment round and butter parchment. Wrap 3 layers of heavy-duty foil around outside of pan, bringing foil to top of rim.
3. Combine 1 cup water and sugar in small saucepan Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
4. Melt butter in large saucepan over low heat. Add chocolate and whisk until smooth. Whisk sugar syrup into chocolate; cool slightly. Add eggs to chocolate mixture and whisk until well blended.
5. Pour batter into prepared pan. Place cake pan in large roasting pan. Add enough hot water to roasting pan to come halfway up sides of cake pan.
6. Bake cake until center no longer moves when pan is gently shaken, about 50 minutes. Remove from water bath and transfer to rack. Cool completely in pan.
7. Run knife around pan to loosen cake. Release sides. Cut cake into wedges and serve with whipped cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
8 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1. Bring whipping cream to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and whisk until smooth.
2. Pour over top of cake still in pan. Gently shake pan to distribute ganache evenly over top of cake. Refrigerate cake in pan until ganache is set, about 2 hours. Do Ahead: Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated.