I planned to bake this beautiful cake for Valentine’s Day as soon as I saw a photo of it in Bon Appétit. So pretty! ❤ It was crunchy on top and rich and creamy in the center. We ate it with vanilla ice cream- which was essential– and the perfect compliment to the texture of the cake. It could also be served with whipped cream.
The recipe was adapted from What’s for Dessert: Simple Recipes for Dessert People by Claire Saffitz, via Bon Appétit. It is actually featured on the cover of the book. Saffitz said that “one of her favorite moments in baking is the swirl you get when folding meringue into a chocolate batter. Not only does it look beautiful on top of the cake, it bakes into a light and crispy shell that yields to the rich crumb.”
The magazine article described it as a “sophisticated-looking and -tasting masterpiece that doesn’t take much effort to achieve.” Rich and delicious.
Yield: Serves 10
- vegetable oil (for pan)
- 10 oz (283 g) semisweet chocolate (64%–70% cacao), coarsely chopped (I used 72% Belgian chocolate)
- 6 T grapeseed, avocado, or other neutral oil
- 1/4 cup strong brewed coffee
- 1 1/2 tsp Diamond Crystal or 3/4 tsp Morton kosher salt, plus more
- 5 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar, divided
- 3/4 cup (72 g) almond flour or almond meal
- vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, for serving
- Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 350°. (I set my oven to true convection.)
- Brush pan with vegetable oil, making sure to coat sides all the way to the rim. Line bottom of pan with a parchment paper round; brush parchment with oil.
- Heat chopped chocolate, neutral oil, brewed coffee, and salt in a large heatproof (I used glass) bowl set over a medium saucepan of gently simmering water (bowl should not touch water), stirring occasionally with a heatproof rubber spatula, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth, about 5 minutes.
- Remove bowl from heat; add 5 large egg yolks, at room temperature, vanilla extract, and 1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar; vigorously whisk to combine.
- Add almond meal and mix well. (Don’t worry if it looks broken and separated.)
- Add 1/4 cup water and whisk vigorously until mixture comes back together and looks smooth and glossy. Set chocolate mixture aside.
- Using an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat egg whites, at room temperature, and a pinch of salt in a large non-plastic bowl until frothy, about 20 seconds.
- Increase speed to medium-high and continue to beat until foamy and opaque, about 30 seconds.
- Beating constantly, gradually add remaining 3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar in a slow, steady stream. Increase speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form and meringue is dense and glossy. (Be careful not to overbeat or it will be dry and grainy and difficult to incorporate into the batter.)
- Scoop out a heaping cupful of meringue and set aside.
- Scrape about half of the remaining meringue into bowl with reserved chocolate mixture and fold gently with spatula until just a few streaks remain.
- Scrape in the rest of the meringue; fold just until evenly mixed and batter is light and airy.
- Scrape batter into prepared pan; smooth surface.
- Spoon dollops of reserved meringue over batter. Using a skewer or toothpick, swirl into batter—a little or a lot; it’s up to you.
- Bake cake until surface is risen and cracked, meringue is light golden, and a tester inserted into the center comes out shiny but clean, 60–70 minutes. (I baked the cake for 60 min but may check it around 55 min next time.)
- Transfer to a wire rack and run a small knife or offset spatula between very top of cake and pan to loosen anywhere it may be stuck (this will help the cake settle evenly as it cools). Let cake cool in pan.
- To serve, run knife around sides again to loosen cake, then unmold. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, as desired.