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Author Notes: One of my cooking/baking philosophies is "simplicity", Its a short philosophy, but the most impactful dishes/goods have nearly always been the ones made with the ingredients in mind. Showcasing the quality of the butter, chocolate, honey, fruit, cream, spice, etc. This recipe is my ode to chic minimalism. Chocolate, eggs, sugar and a few spices. You can dress it up with ganache, berries, whipped cream, toasted meringue, caramel, nuts, coconut or whatever you can possibly think of. But I think the cake shines best with just a simple dusting of cocoa or confectioners' sugar, barely adorned. Why gild the lily? —PieceOfLayerCake
Serves 8 - 10
ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
ounces granulated sugar, divided
teaspoon kosher salt
teaspoons cayenne pepper
teaspoons black pepper
large eggs, at room temperature
ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
cocoa powder or confectioners' sugar, for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Generously spray a 9" round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
- Set the chopped chocolate in a large bowl. Combine 6 oz. granulated sugar, the salt and spices in a medium-sized saucepan and whisk together. Add in the water and set over high heat. When it comes to a boil, pour the liquid over the chopped chocolate and allow to sit for a minute or two before whisking smooth. The mixture may look a little broken, but that's normal.
- Combine the remaining 3 oz. sugar and the eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip the mixture over medium-high speed until it doubles in volume and becomes pale and thick, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, add the butter into the chocolate and whisk until it has all been incorporated. When the egg mixture has reached proper volume, pour it into the chocolate and, using the whisk, fold it in until there are no streaks of egg left visible.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and firmly rap on the counter a few times to settle the batter and release any air bubbles. Set the pan inside a larger vessel, such as a roasting pan, and fill with about 1" of boiling water. Bake for 40 - 45 minutes, or until the cake jiggles only slightly when the pan is shaken gently. Allow to cool on the counter for 30 minutes before cooling in the refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight.
- To de-pan, heat up a large pan/skillet of water until its simmering. Remove from the heat and set the cake pan in the water for 30 seconds. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the pan (I heat the knife in the same water). Tap the cake firmly out onto a piece of parchment paper to release it. If the cake doesn't come out cleanly, repeat the process. Serve the cake immediately, dusting with cocoa or confectioners' sugar, or store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. The cake can be frozen, wrapped tightly in plastic, for up to a month.