French Chocolate Cake ( serves 10 – 12)
3/4 cup icing sugar
280g dark chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup unsalted butter, chopped
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 eggs, separated
1/4 cup of plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted
pinch of salt
1. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Generously butter a 9½-inch springform pan, then sprinkle the pan with a little sugar and tap out the excess.
2. Set aside 3 tbsp of icing sugar and place remaining sugar in a saucepan with the chocolate and butter over low-heat.
3. When the ingredients has melted and dissolved, remove the pan and stir in vanilla extract. Let mixture cool slightly.
4. Beat the egg yolks into the chocolate mixture, beating each in well, then stir in the flour.
5. In a clean grease-free bowl, beat the egg whites slowly with an electric mixer until they are frothy. Increase the speed, add the salt and continue to beat until soft peaks form.
6. Sprinkle over the reserved sugar and beat until whites are stiff and glossy.
7. Beat one-third of the whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold remaining whites.
8. Carefully pour the mixture into the springform pan, tap the pan gently to release any air bubbles.
9. Bake the cake for about 35 – 45 minutes until well risen or when skewer comes out clean.
10. Transfer the cake and let cool completely.
8 ounces, or approximately 230g semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp brandy or run
2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1. To make the ganache, bring the cream to boil in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat.
2. Remove the pan from the heat and add chocolate all at once, stirring until melted and smooth. Stir in brandy or rum and beat in softened butter.
3. Set aside for about 5 – 10 minutes to thicken slightly. (Ganache should coat the back of a spoon in a thick smooth layer)
Pour the warm ganache over the cake all at once, titling gently to help spread it evenly on all surfaces. Use a spatula to smooth sides, decorate with a sprinkle of chopped pistachio nuts (¼ cup).