What's not to love about a chocolate-ey dense cake made of the very best ingredients -- chocolate, butter and eggs! (And it's gluten-free!) This relatively simple dessert is sure to bring a "wow" factor to the holiday table -- or any table!
Let's start with the cake:
10.5 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
7 large eggs, separated
12 tablespoons sugar
1-1/2 Tbsp. instant espresso, dissolved in 1-1/2 Tbsp. water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a medium saucepan over low heat combine the chocolate and butter, stirring frequently until melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Allow to cool.
Line bottom of a 9” spring-form pan with waxed paper or parchment; butter the pan and the paper. Wrap outside of pan in foil.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat egg yolks and 6 tablespoons sugar until it is very thick and pale, about 3 minutes . Mix gently the chocolate mixture, espresso and vanilla into yolk mixture.
In another large bowl, using clean beaters, beat egg whites on higher speed until soft peaks form. Slowly add remaining sugar, beating until medium-firm peaks form.
GENTLY fold whites into chocolate mixture in 3 additions.
Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake cake until top is puffed and cracked, about 50 minutes. Cool cake in pan on rack (the cake will fall).
Loosen the edges of the cake by cutting around the sides of the pan. Removed the pan sides. Place a disc/plate/cardboard round on top of the cake and invert onto the disc/plate/cardboard. Remove spring-form bottom and wax paper.
While the cake is baking make the spiked berries and the Ganache
Make Spiked Berries
12 oz. bag frozen mixed berries
½ cup sugar
½ cup water
2 Tbsp. orange flavored liquour (optional)
Combine berries, sugar, water and orange liqueur in a small saucepan over medium heat and simmer until reduced and thickened. Reserve.
3/4 cup whipping cream
9 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) chocolate, chopped
½ cup toasted chopped hazelnuts (reserve)
Combine chocolate and cream in the top bowl of a double boiler with a few inches of simmering water. Stir until the chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
Remove bowl from double boiler and let ganache cool slightly, about 10 minutes.
Place cake on a cooling rack set over baking sheet. Spread about a ½ cup of ganache smoothly over top and sides of cake.
Place in the freezer for about 3 minutes until about set. Repeat with remaining glaze.
Press toasted hazelnuts into the side of the cake.
Chill for at least 1 hour and up to a day.
Serve at room temperature and topped with spiked berries.