Last time Sarah came to visit we made this flourless chocolate cake that I’d seen Jacques Pepin prepare on the PBS show Julia and Jacques. It intrigued me because I’d never seen a cake made with ganache and egg whites, and also because the recipe requires no flour. This is the sort of cake that the French would make into a bûche de Noël, but the batter can also go into ramekins for little chocolate soufflés.
You’ll need a half sheet pan (or a 11 x 17 jelly roll pan) and the following ingredients:
For the soufflé
1 cup heavy cream
8 oz bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
7 egg whites, at room temperature
2 Tbs granulated sugar
For the filling
1 cup heavy cream, well chilled
½ tsp vanilla
1½ Tbs granulated sugar (optional)
1 Tbs cognac (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350º and line the pan with buttered parchment.
To make the soufflé, heat one cup of cream to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Add the chocolate pieces, lower the heat and whisk to melt the chocolate thoroughly. Once smooth and well combined, remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
Whip the egg whites and 2 tablespoons of sugar until they have formed stiff peaks with a glossy sheen.
Scoop about a quarter of the beaten egg whites into the pan with the ganache, and whisk to combine. Now pour the lightened ganache into the egg whites and use a rubber spatula to gently fold the mixture. Do not over mix. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth into an even layer.
Place the pan in the middle rack of the preheated oven and bake for 10-12 minutes. When done the cake should be set and puffy. Allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack until room temperature.
Lift the parchment lined cake from the pan, long side facing you. The recipe says to dust the cake with cocoa powder at this point, but honestly we forgot, and it was still good.
Spread on whipped cream.
Start to roll.
Lift up the near edge of the cake and parchment and start to fold it away from you. Begin to peel the parchment off the cake. Roll another few inches, pressing the parchment to make a tight spiral.
The cake should still be sitting on the parchment paper, and at this point you can wrap the parchment around it and either transfer it to a platter to serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to 4 hours.
-Jennifer (and Sarah)