Passover is often filled with yucky foods made with matzo meal that do a terrible job of imitating real food. I have found that dessert are especially tough, as many people try to modify regular recipes to be kosher for Passover, but the result is never going to be quite the same. My opinion is that there are plenty of sweets out there that don’t require flour to begin with, and these should be the food we focus on during the holiday. For example, I have a recipe for coconut macaroons that I happily make all year round (fyi, I like these better without the chocolate coating). Another obvious choice for Passover is flourless chocolate cake – the name says it all!
Well, as it turns out, Deb at Smitten Kitchen has the same issue with Passover desserts as I do, and a couple of years ago published 17 ideas for things to make that actually taste good! She recommended a flourless chocolate cake recipe by David Lebovitz which is called “Chocolate Idiot Cake”, because it’s apparently so easy only an idiot could screw it up. I took on the challenge and prayed that I didn’t turn out to be that idiot! The ingredient list is as easy as it gets – chocolate, butter, sugar, and eggs. I figured there wasn’t much risk because no matter what you do, how could that combination possibly taste bad?
As it turns out, I might not be as smart as I thought! I first tried this recipe last year (and in fact am updating the post I intended to share at that time) with so-so results. The cake was delicious – it really can’t be anything else, but I couldn’t quite get it to set up as promised in the instructions. David Lebovitz says that when the cake is done, your finger will come away clean when you gently touch the center. No such luck. I thought I just didn’t bake it long enough and ran out of time to experiment by keeping it in the oven, but when I reread the recipe in preparation for posting I realized I made a big mistake – the recipe calls for 7 ounces of butter, and I used 7 tablespoons, which is half that amount! Ok, so maybe I’m an idiot after all, but who writes recipes in ounces of butter??
This year, determined to correct the mistake, I dug up the recipe and tried again, this time following every detail to the letter. And guess what – my finger still had a blob of chocolate on it when I touched it after 1 hour 15 minutes! I left it in for another 15 minutes and still had some yummy chocolate to lick off my finger, so under the assumption that the eggs had to be cooked after 90 minutes in the oven, I took it out.
The next day when we cut into the cake after being refrigerated overnight, it was definitely cooked through and delicious! It is the true chocolate lover’s dream – unbelievably rich, moist and smooth, with that super-intense dark chocolate taste that almost has a hint of coffee or a burned undertone (anyone know what I’m talking about here?). It’s the kind of dessert that benefits from a hot beverage to help wash it down, and you can’t eat more than a small piece in a sitting. Ok, well I can, but if I do I tend to regret it afterwards!
In hindsight, I’m thinking it was probably done in an hour 15 minutes, but the extra 15 minutes didn’t hurt it, so I’ve put 90 minutes in the recipe below. Feel free to take it out early and let me know how it goes! I’ve also eliminated that silly part about the clean finger and next time will just trust the clock to avoid fingerprints on my beautiful cake 🙂
Flourless Chocolate Cake
adapted from DavidLebovitz.com
10 ounces good quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used E. Guittard 72%)
7 ounces (14 tablespoons or 1 3/4 sticks) butter, salted or unsalted, cut into pieces
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
Preheat the oven to 350. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and dust it with cocoa powder, tapping out any excess. Wrap the outside tightly with heavy duty aluminum foil to make sure no water will seep in during baking.
Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler (take any heat-proof bowl and set it on top of a pot with about 2 inches of barely simmering water), stirring occasionally, until smooth. Remove from heat. (You can also do this step in the microwave but I find the double boiler method easier!)
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar, then whisk in the melted chocolate mixture until smooth.
Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan and cover the top of the pan snugly with a sheet of foil. Put the springform pan into a larger baking pan, such as a roasting pan, and add enough hot water to the baking pan to come about halfway up to the outside of the cake pan.
Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes. The cake will still be jiggly in the center but should set up nicely once cool. Lift the cake pan from the water bath and remove the foil. Let cake cool completely on a cooling rack.
Store, covered, in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. Serve at room temperature with whipped cream, ice cream, or just a cup of tea.
Serves at least 16.