5 Ingredients or Fewer

Pressed Chocolate Cake

April  4, 2019
11 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten
  • Prep time 1 hour
  • Cook time 40 minutes
  • Makes 1 (12-inch) cake
Author Notes

Excerpted from: River Café London: Thirty Years of Recipes and the Story of a Much-Loved Restaurant by Ruth Rogers. Copyright © 1995 by Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray. Published by arrangement with Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of The Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. —Food52

What You'll Need
  • Unsalted butter for the pan
  • 14 ounces (400g) best-quality bittersweet chocolate (70% cocoa solids), broken into pieces
  • 1 1/4 cups (300g) unsalted butter
  • 10 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup (225g) granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter and line a 12-inch (30cm) round and 3-inch (7.5cm) deep cake pan with parchment paper.
  2. Melt the chocolate with the butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of barely simmering water (the water should not touch the base of the bowl). Remove the bowl from the pot and cool a little, then whisk in the egg yolks. Add the sugar and cocoa powder and mix well.
  3. In a separate large bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Fold into the chocolate mixture, a third at a time.
  4. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake pan. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the cake has risen like a soufflé and is slightly set.
  5. Remove from the oven. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the cake; then place a plate on top of that—the plate should fit exactly inside the pan—and press down firmly, then weight the plate. Leave to cool for 30 minutes before turning out. Cool completely before serving.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Solveig Malvik
    Solveig Malvik
  • Smaug
  • Kenn Walcott
    Kenn Walcott
  • Marsha Shapiro Roux
    Marsha Shapiro Roux
  • Dee Wurtzell
    Dee Wurtzell

27 Reviews

Rachel B. April 21, 2019
Made for Passover. A winner!!
Jacob April 14, 2019
I only had a 9" cake pan, so I did 70% of the recipe and it turned our perfect! FYI, easier using metric measurements.
Solveig M. April 10, 2019
What does the pressing do to the cake? I mean what's the story? Why is it pressed? Why would I want to press it?
Smaug April 10, 2019
There actually was a story attached to this recipe; don't recall what it was called, though, and though F52 provides links from story to recipe, it doesn't have them going the other way. Basically, it's done to make the cake denser; whether this is a worthy aim or not (most of these cakes are pretty dense to start with) is an individual matter.
millie April 7, 2019
loved it! added some vanilla and espresso powder.
Jennifer M. April 6, 2019
Who has a 12” x 3” cake pan? You need to give directions for an 8” or 9” pan if you want people to try the recipe.
Alice F. April 6, 2019
Available on Amazon.
Kenn W. April 7, 2019
I see comments like this a lot. If you take a recipe from a restaurant it is written for their equipment, not for us home chefs. Make adjustments (9×13 maybe) and keep it moving.
Marsha S. April 7, 2019
After reading a couple of comments re: size pan...I don't know what to use!!!!! This is so not fair!! someone please give us an answer for the homecooks appropriate pan size!!!!!
Marsha S. April 7, 2019
ps. must I resort to buying a 12 inch pan on Amazon that in all likelihood I won't use very often!
susan S. April 8, 2019
Michaels craft store has 12” pans at 40% off right now.
Marsha S. April 8, 2019
Checked online..Michael's Craft store is out of it online and it's not sold in their store in my area...so I guess I'm out of luck!
susan S. April 8, 2019
You might want to call the store near you because the web site says that size isn’t sold in the store near me and I actually bought it in that store today.
Marsha S. April 8, 2019
Worth a try..thanks..will do!
Marsha S. April 8, 2019
Worth a try..thanks....
Smaug April 9, 2019
An 8" square pan or a 9" round should work well for half the recipe
Marsha S. April 9, 2019
That's right! Just halve the recipe! Thanks for the tip. I usually halve recipes when needed..surprised I didn't consider that option! Thanks for reminding me!
susan S. April 9, 2019
Decided today to do that myself. I would never use that 12 in pan again.
Good luck.
Marsha S. April 9, 2019
Thank you!!!!!
Smaug April 10, 2019
I actually do have a 12" x 3" pan, but wouldn't really want a cake that size.
Marsha S. April 10, 2019
If I used a 9" round pan...wouldn't I have an overflow of batter left over..if that's the case..I guess I could always throw it out or try baking the excess in a ramekin. Any thoughts?
susan S. April 10, 2019
It looks like a 12x3 pan uses 11 cups of batter. You can use a cake pan chart and adjust the recipe for the smaller pan.
I used a 9” spring form because of the depth and cut the recipe in half. It came out too flat. An 8” probably would have been better. You also have to cut back the baking time.
Not sure I’m going to bother making it again.
Dee W. April 10, 2019
You shouldn't, actually. The area of a 12 in round cake pan is about 422, while the area of a 9 in round cake pan is 254.
Smaug April 10, 2019
???The area of a 12" pan is about 113 sq. in. (6x6x3.14), a 9"pan is about 64 (4.5x4.5x3.14).
susan S. April 10, 2019
Maybe I put too much weight on it, but honestly, spending too much time on this cake.
I would rather just make a regular flourless cake.
Marsha S. April 10, 2019
I'm getting cold feet! LOL! The good news is there's tons of wonderful dessert recipes on this site. I think I'll restrain myself from making this one. Time to move on! Thank you for trying to help! I so appreciate your time!!!!! I don't own an 8" round pan and have no desire to purchase one!!!!!!!
Marsha S. April 10, 2019