When it comes to thinking up a luscious dessert for a holiday menu, the words chocolate and holiday are synonymous at my house. Nothing quite equals the glamour of a great chocolate cake.
This nearly flourless chocolate cake contains a small quantity of bourbon. It would be equally good with Grand Marnier, Kahlua, Frangelico or dark rum; the flavor will vary accordingly. The small amount of liqueur blends an exotic flavor into the chocolate. The French word parfum describes the flavor perfectly since, in effect, the cake is lightly perfumed by the liqueur.
A shortcut, made possible by the processor, is to finely grind chocolate and melt it right in the container. No double boiler is required. Butter does the melting job easily--in about 20 seconds--provided it is heated just to the point it begins to separate. Egg whites, which have been beaten with a whisk or electric beater almost to firm peaks, lighten the dense base of the cake.
Important Cooking Routine
It is important to plan your cooking routine so the cake, which bakes for 25 minutes, can be left to completely cool in the turned-off oven, with the door ajar.
For best results, the cake should be baked early in the morning on the day it will be served. Once cool, allow it to stand at room temperature until serving time; refrigeration will cause it to set into the consistency of sludge.
The cake may be garnished with whipped cream or custard sauce that has been spiked (unless the liqueur will cause discoloration) with the same flavoring used for the cake.
BOURBON-CHOCOLATE FUDGE CAKE
1 pound semisweet chocolate, cut in 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
5 eggs, separated
1 1/2 tablespoons bourbon
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 pound hot, melted unsalted butter
Adjust oven rack to middle position. Line bottom of 8-inch springform pan with oiled parchment or wax paper. Set pan aside.
Insert metal blade in dry processor. Process half of chocolate with sugar and flour until chocolate is ground. Add remaining chocolate to container and process until finely ground.
Add egg yolks, bourbon and vanilla to mixture in processor. With motor running, add hot butter in thin stream within 10 seconds. Process until fluffy, about 30 seconds.
Place egg whites in dry bowl and beat with whisk or electric beaters until nearly firm. Add about 1 cup beaten whites to processor container and process with 1/2-second pulses until egg whites disappear.
Add chocolate mixture to bowl of remaining egg whites and fold together evenly. Transfer batter to springform pan. Bake at 400 degrees 25 minutes, open oven door and cool cake to room temperature in oven with door ajar. Makes 8 servings.