Saturday, January 27, 2007

Elizabeth David's Chocolate Cake

5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon brewed espresso
1 tablespoon dark rum
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup whole blanched almonds, finely ground
3 large eggs, separated

This intense cake calls for a beautifully balanced red Amarone Recioto from the Veneto. Though expensive, the 1994 Quintarelli, with its rich, dark and expressive notes of dried raisins, is the perfect match. Less expensive alternatives include the 1994 Santi, the 1993 Tedeschi and the 1993 Allegrini.

The cooled cake can be wrapped in plastic and stored overnight at room temperature.

1. Preheat the oven to 300°. Butter and flour an 8-inch round cake pan.

2. In a large heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, combine the chocolate with the butter, espresso and rum and stir until melted and smooth. Remove the bowl from the heat and stir in the sugar and ground almonds. Let the chocolate mixture cool slightly, then beat in the egg yolks, 1 at a time.

3. In a clean stainless-steel bowl, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Stir 1/3 of the beaten whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remaining whites until fully incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely on a rack before inverting it onto a platter.

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