French Chocolate Cake - Gateau au Chocolat
This is typical of a French homemade cake - dense, dark and delicious. The texture is very different from a sponge cake and it is excellent served with cream or a fruit coulis.
- 3/4 cup superfine sugar, plus some for a sprinkling springform pan
- 10 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 5 eggs, separated
- 1/4 cup flour, sifted
- pinch of salt
- confectioner’s sugar, for dusting(optional, I used cocoa powder)
- 1 lb berries, for fruit coulis, plus extra to serve (optional)
- 1/2 cup superfine sugar, for fruit coulis
- juice of 1/2 lemon, for fruit coulis
For fruit coulis: Put the berries (of your choice) in a pan with ½ cup sugar and heat very gently, stirring with a wooden spoon from time to time. When the mixture comes to a simmer, cook gently for another 10 minutes. Transfer to a blender or a food processor and whiz to a puree, then strain through a cheesecloth-lined strainer into a bowl. Let this coulis cool, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin forming. When cold, stir in the lemon juice.
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Generously butter a 9_1/2 inch springform pan, then sprinkle the pan with a little sugar and tap out the excess. Set aside 3 tbsp of the sugar, you are going to use it for the egg whites. Place the chocolate, butter, and remaining sugar in a heavy saucepan and cook over low heat until the chocolate and butter have melted and the sugar has dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the vanilla extract and let the mixture cool slightly.
Beat the egg yolks into the chocolate mixture, beating each in well, and then stir in the ﬂour.
In a clean grease-free bowl, using an electric mixer beat the egg whites slowly until they are frothy. Increase the speed, add the salt and continue beating until soft peaks form. Sprinkle over the reserved sugar and beat until the whites are stiff and glossy. Beat one-third of the whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remaining whites.
Carefully pour the mixture into the pan and tap the pan gently to release any air bubbles.
Bake the cake for about 35-45 minutes until well risen and the top springs back when touched lightly with a fingertip. (If the cake appears to rise unevenly, rotate after 20-25 minutes.) Transfer the cake to a wire rack; remove the side of the pan let cool completely. Remove the pan base. Dust the cake with confectioner’s sugar and transfer to a serving plate.