Chocolate (From Simple Cookies to Extravagant Showstoppers)

Book Review by Norene Gilletz

This decadent cake is perfect for last-minute entertaining and because it contains no flour, it also makes an excellent Passover dessert. The recipe comes from Chocolate (From Simple Cookies to Extravagant Showstoppers) by Nick Malgieri. The subtitle describes the book perfectly! Winner of the 1998 Julia Child Cookbook Award, Baking Category, this is a must-have for everyone’s cookbook shelf. The colored photographs are almost good enough to eat!

As a special touch to mark the new year, why not decorate the top of the cake (or any round cake) like the face of a clock! Melt 1 square of semisweet chocolate over low heat. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a writing tip. Decorate cake, marking the numbers 12, three, six and nine. Happy New Year! Enjoy in good health.

8 tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter (room temperature)
3/4 cup sugar
7 large eggs, separated
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
Pinch salt

1/4 cup seedless raspberry preserves
1 cup whipping cream
3 tbsp. sugar
One 9-inch springform pan, buttered; line bottom with a disk of parchment or wax paper.

1. Set rack at middle level of oven; preheat to 350°F.

2. Beat butter and sugar until light, with a hand mixer at medium speed, or in a heavy-duty mixer using paddle attachment, about 3 to 5 minutes.

3. Add yolks one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. Beat in chocolate.

4. In a clean, dry bowl, beat egg whites with salt until soft peaks form. Stir about a third of whites into batter, then, using a rubber spatula, gently fold in remaining whites.

5. Pour batter into prepared pan; smooth to make the top even. Bake about 40 minutes, until well risen and center is firm and elastic to a fingertip.

6. Cool cake in pan for 5 minutes; invert onto a rack to cool completely. Slide cake onto a platter.

7. To finish, place preserves in a small pan and stir over low heat to melt. Pour preserves into center of cake. Cool to room temperature.

8. Whip cream with sugar until soft peaks form. Spread over top of cake, covering preserves, shortly before serving.

Serving: Cut into 10 or 12 wedges. Serve with fresh fruit or berries on the side, if desired.

Storage: To make cake ahead, cool and double-wrap in plastic wrap. Store in refrigerator several days or in freezer several months. Bring cake to room temperature before finishing (can be done shortly before serving). Pour preserves over; leave at room temperature. Whip cream and refrigerate. Spread whipped cream on cake shortly before serving.

(From Simple Cookies to Extravagant Showstoppers)
Nick Malgieri

Harper Collins

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