The Chocolate Cake For When Times Are Uncertain and All-Purpose Flour Is MIA

This chocolate cake may look plain, but it is a showstopper in taste and satisfaction.
This chocolate cake may look plain, but it is a showstopper in taste and satisfaction.

No doubt you’ve heard that Americans are drinking far more during this pandemic.

Me? I’m gorging on a whole lot more chocolate.

And that’s saying something since I consider the consumption of chocolate to be practically a daily requirement.

After all when the going gets tough, the tough get dark chocolate.

Thankfully, “Chocolate Cake” by renowned Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten satisfies on every level. It’s from his cookbook, “Home Cooking with Jean-Georges: My Favorite Simple Recipes” (Clarkson Potter, 2011), in which the Michelin-starred chef shares favorite casual recipes he makes for his family

First, this cake uses hardly any all-purpose flour, for those who are running low on it like me. In fact, it calls for just over 1 tablespoon of the stuff. It’s such a small amount, though, that you could probably get away with substituting any other kind of flour for it.

Second, the only other flour used in this cake is almond meal or almond flour. So, if you have it lurking in your freezer like I did, this is a great way to use it up. If you only have almonds on hand, just pulverize them in a food processor to make your own almond flour. This cake uses only 1/2 cup of it, too.

Third, it’s a simple cake to make. It gets its lift from beaten egg whites that get folded into the batter.

Simple enough to make for every day enjoyment yet pretty enough for company, too.
Simple enough to make for every day enjoyment yet pretty enough for company, too.

As a result, this deep, dark chocolate cake may look as rich and dense as ganache. But it’s actually quite light and delicate in texture.

Its only adornment is cocoa powder dusted overtop that creates almost a suede-like appearance. This cake is beautifully elegant in its sparseness. Accessorize it with a little fluff of softly whipped cream on the side or not.

Swoon-worthy chocolate cake.
Swoon-worthy chocolate cake.

Like a less heavy brownie, this chocolate cake has been a favorite of Vongerichten’s since he was a kid when his mother baked it as an after-school treat.

No matter what your age, it will definitely hit the spot.

Lighter in texture than your typical chocolate cake.
Lighter in texture than your typical chocolate cake.

Chocolate Cake

(Serves 6)

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, preferably cultured, plus more for the pan

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan

3 large eggs, separated

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

3 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, preferably Valrhona, 66 percent cacao, chopped

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/2 cup almond flour

Dutch-process coca powder, optional

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour an 8-inch round fluted tart pan with a removable bottom or a springform pan, tapping out the excess.

Whisk the egg whites with the granulated sugar until medium-stiff peaks form.

Meanwhile, fill a medium saucepan with an inch of water and bring to a simmer. Combine the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over the simmering water. Melt, stirring, occasionally. Remove the bowl from the saucepan.

Beat 1 yolk into the chocolate mixture to temper it. Beat in the remaining yolks, then beat in the confectioners’ sugar, almond flour, and all-purpose flour until well mixed.

Add a third of the whipped whites and beat well to loosen the chocolate mixture. Gently fold in the remaining whites just until combined. Pour into the prepared pan and gently spread evenly.

Bake until puffed and a knife comes out clean, about 17 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert onto the rack. Carefully flip the cake right side up. Let cool completely. Dust with cocoa powder if you like.

From “Home-Cooking with Jean-Georges”

More Jean-Georges Vongerichten Recipes to Enjoy: Butternut Squash with Balsamic and Chile Panko Crumbs

And: Fettuccine with Meyer Lemon Cream

And: Roast Chicken with Ginger and Soy-Whiskey Glaze

And: Pasta with Saffron Oil

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