La Bete Noir Flourless Chocolate Cake and a Guest Post by Felipe

by Lynne on August 6, 2010

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La Bete Noir

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,, 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.

Felipe writes:

“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.”

La Bete Noir 3

Wrap three layers of foil around the bottom of springform pan.

La Bete Noir 4

Place springform in roasting pan.

La Bete Noir 2

And here it is, La Bete Noir, in all its glory.

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La Bete Noir

Cake Ingredients
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.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Monet August 7, 2010 at 6:30 am

What a lovely recipe Felipe! Anything with chocolate wins me over. And I do hope you join the food blog world. You will have a follower in me!

Adair @ Lentil Breakdown August 7, 2010 at 9:23 am

Wow, 18 oz. of bittersweet chocolate! Count me in! Felipe, I will gladly be your choco groupie. Top photo is to die for.

sippitysup August 7, 2010 at 4:27 pm

Massive chocolate with out being too sweet this is a mighty sophisticated treat. GREG

sophia August 7, 2010 at 4:36 pm

Wow, Felipe. you’re smart. You start out with something devastatingly dark, sexy, and rich. I think you’d make a really great food blogger! 😉

Carolyn Jung August 7, 2010 at 4:50 pm

A classic and beautiful flourless chocolate cake. These are always so intensely chocolate tasting. Perfect for a choco-fiend like myself. 😉

Joanne August 7, 2010 at 8:32 pm

welcome to the blogosphere Felipe! You definitely have a way with describing food. I am yearning for a piece of this chocolate cake right now!

A Little Yumminess August 7, 2010 at 8:35 pm

This cake looks ridiculously good!!! YUMMMMM

nuts about food August 8, 2010 at 5:10 am

the cake looks fabulous, your pictures are beautiful, you are passionate about food…what are you waiting for? start your blog and let us know about it when you do!

Carla August 8, 2010 at 10:50 am

Oooh, that’s such a good-looking cake. NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM…

Vivienne August 9, 2010 at 3:09 am

Gorgeous and decadent! Yes, chocolate pairs with so many things! Recently I had chocolate with sea-salt. Love it!

polwig August 9, 2010 at 8:43 am

WOW…. I think Felipe has chocolate running through his veins… time to start a food blog… classy, decadent food.

Andrea @ Fork Fingers Chopsticks August 9, 2010 at 10:37 am

I tore this recipe out to make it and never did. I am a chocolate fan through and through. But since my baking chops are my weakest of culinary skills, I usually only look at such dessert recipes with ambition (while I salivate). Thanks for the inspiration.

Pam August 9, 2010 at 11:17 am

This looks pretty sinful and I’d love a slice right now! Way to go!

Grapefruit August 9, 2010 at 1:47 pm

Oh my, this is right up my alley.
I enjoy flourless chocolate cakes so very much!
Welcome to Blog-Land Felipe!

Lisa September 24, 2010 at 2:34 pm

My youngest daughter asks for this for her birthday dinner every year! This is her 18th birthday on Wednesday, so I will make it this week. Always a big hit!

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