This Decadent Flourless Chocolate Cake Pairs Perfectly with Port and Port-Style Wines

From a 1995 recipe by Zacchoreli Frescobaldi-Grimaldi. Served with a Thurston Wolfe Touriga Nacional Port at Dan’s “Big, Bold Red Wines” wine class at Bellingham Technical College.

nullAnyone who loves chocolate will love flourless chocolate cake. I’m sure that this type of formula has been around for ages, but the flourless chocolate cake enjoyed maximum popularity in the early 1980’s. When I was younger, I would eat an entire wheel of this cake whilst doing homework. Now, one slice is more than enough to satisfy my chocolate cravings. As with most pastries and confections, a secret to success is technique. You may not get the results you want with the first try, so just keep making this dessert and eventually you will master it.


Aluminum foil
1 10 inch false bottom cake pan
Hotel pan or roasting pan to make a Bain-Marie
Small balloon whisk
Measuring spoons
Electric mixer, with balloon whisk
Food scale

7 ounces unsweetened dark chocolate
6 ounces sweet dark chocolate
2 tablespoons dark chocolate powder, or ground Mexican chocolate
½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
9 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup water
6 ounces castor sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons Remy Martin
6 eggs
3 ounces castor sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Line the bottom and side of the cake pan with parchment, wrap the bottom up to the outside rim of the cake pan with aluminum foil to make it water-tight, place the prepared cake pan in the roasting pan and set aside until needed.
3. Set the teapot to boil and reduce heat to simmer until needed.
4. Dissolve the 6 ounces of sugar in the water and bring to a boil.
5. Reduce the heat to very low, and add the chocolate in three or four small batches. Whisk after each addition until the chocolate is completely melted.
6. Remove the pot from the burner, and incorporate the butter whisking until completely blended.
7. Whisk in the vanilla, Remy Martin and black pepper, set aside until needed. The black pepper activates taste receptors across the tongue, allowing your guests to enjoy more of the subtle chocolate flavors.
8. Add all six eggs to the bowl of the mixer, and whisk at high speed and add sugar a tablespoon at a time. Whisk for three minutes. Do not over-whisk as you will get a dry crumbly cake that will be the embarrassment of your family for generations to come.
9. By now the chocolate mixture should be warm, not hot. Gently fold the chocolate into the egg sponge in three additions. These three additions are important because you want to preserve the fluffy texture of the egg sponge.
10. Gently pour the cake batter into the prepared cake pan. Place the Bain-Marie on the middle rack of your oven, then pour the hot water from the tea pot into the roasting pan to come up to the middle of the cake pan. The Bain-Marie assures even cooking.
11. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Around the circumference of the top, the cake will crack a bit, this is normal. You’ll know the cake is done when the top of the cake feels firm, not sticky and an inserted skewer is removed with a film of chocolate, not heavily covered like an oil dipstick from your car’s engine.
12. Before you can unmold the cake, you need to let it set completely. Refrigerate overnight, then remove the cake from the false bottom pan, peel off the parchment from the sides, then invert the cake on to a plate. Remove the bottom of the cake pan, and then gently peel off the parchment from the cake.
13. Slice with a hot, dry knife when the cake is at room temperature. To get a clean smooth side on each sliced piece, slice the cake when it is cold, then allow it to come to room temperature before serving. Garnish with confectioners’ sugar, whip cream or raspberry sauce.

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