Decadent chocolate desserts sound just about perfect right now. Cabin fever is well and truly set in and I for one could use as much comfort and love as I can muster. Just when we’ve managed to settle into a healthier eating pattern, or endured a dry January, Valentine’s day rolls around to tempt us to chocolate. And I for one am okay with that. It’s nice to have an excuse to take a little break and indulge, now more than ever, I am right? Whether you make this for loved ones, or for yourself, this custardy, soft cake is the perfect treat for a little extravagance. And for all the cute, thematic treats you can purchase, nothing is better than something made from scratch with love.
Browned butter adds a lovely richness to this cake, but follow the instructions to brown only to the moment of nutty fragrance, not to the deeper brown you might look for when making a sauce for pasta or vegetables. Just lightly toasty. And using a higher fat European style butter (like Plugra, President or Kerrygold) adds the most flavor. And while you are at is, seek out the best bittersweet chocolate you can manage (like Schaffen Berger, Guittard or Ghiradelli). This cake doesn’t require many ingredients, so the best quality really shines. A hit of bourbon riffs so nicely off the chocolate and browned butter, but feel free to substitute a drop of your favorite tipple – dark rum or a flavored liqueur like amaretto or Chambord. This cake is decadent, so it doesn’t need much embellishment, but a dollop of unsweetened whipped cream cuts a nice balance. As an added bonus, this cake is gluten free.
Chocolate Brown Butter Bourbon Flourless Cake
6 – 8servings
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chips or finely chopped
1 cup (2 sticks) European-style butter
1 cup granulated sugar
½ Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon bourbon
1 teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 350. Find a deep roasting tin or baking pan that a 9-inch springform pan will fit in comfortably. Wrap the outside of the springform pan tightly with tinfoil. Line the bottom with parchment paper and spray the entire inside with baking spray, such as Bakers’ Joy. Bring a kettle of water to the boil.
- Cut the butter into small pieces and place in a medium sized stainless steel saucepan (the lighter color metal makes it easier to monitor the browning butter). Melt the butter over medium heat until any foaming subsides, and the butter begins to turn a light brown color and smells wonderfully nutty. Do not let dark sediment form in the bottom – don’t take this butter to a darker color as you would for a pasta sauce or other recipe. When the butter is fragrant and just beginning to brown, turn the heat to low and dump in the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is smooth and melted then remove the pan from the heat to cool slightly while you deal with the eggs.
- Beat the eggs and the sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment until thick and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla. With the mixer running on low, pour in the melted chocolate and beat until smooth and well combined, scraping down the side of the bowl. Beat in the bourbon and salt. Until well combined.
- Put the springform pan in the roasting pan then pour the batter into the springform. Transfer the whole thing to the oven, then pour the boiling water into the roasting pan to come up about 1/3 of the sides of the springform. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes until set.
- Carefully remove the roasting tin from the oven, then lift out the springform and place it on a rack. Carefully remove the foil from around the pan and cool the cake on the rack.
- This cake is best served at room temperature on the day it was made.