A few months ago I discovered a new food blog written by a lovely lady across the globe in the USA. Chris blogs at The Cafe Sucre Farine and her very clever husband is her photographer. She writes about food (my favourite topic) and her gorgeous family (including her very cute grandchildren). The recipes she posts often have me running to the pantry to check if I have the ingredients to whip them up straight away. This recipe was no different. It’s called La Bete Noire which, translated from French means ‘the black beast.’
Christ describes it as ‘the little black dress’ of chocolate cakes meaning everyone should have the recipe – it’s reliable and suitable for any occasion. I can say it is the best, richest chocolate cake I’ve ever made. You just have to make it and see for yourself. It’s also gluten free so a bonus for celiacs.
Apologies for the dodgy pics. I wasn’t at home, it was night time and the bench has a yellow tone to it!
There aren’t too many ingredients that make up this cake but don’t be fooled by its simplicity.
Start by bringing the sugar and water to the boil in a saucepan. Stir it constantly until the sugar has dissolved then reduce it to a simmer. Remove it from the heat after five minutes.
There’s a bit of pan preparation in this recipe. You will need 3 big pieces of aluminum foil to wrap around the bottom and all the way up the rim of the spring-form cake tin. I use a few extra layers, yes I’m paranoid. Spray the inside with oil.
In another saucepan (a bigger one this time) melt the butter over the stove.
Add the chocolate and whisk it through until the mixture is smooth.
Remove the pan from the heat and whisk through the sugar/water then leave it to cool slightly.
Add the eggs and whisk them in too. I’d advise whisking them a little on their own before you add them to the batter.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and place it in a baking dish. Add hot water to the baking dish until it comes half way up the sides of the tin. Very carefully transfer the whole thing to the oven and bake it at 160C fan-forced for 45-50 minutes or until it doesn’t jiggle in the middle when you give it a wiggle.
Take the whole thing out of the oven then remove the cake from the water bath and leave it to cool in the tin.
While the cake is cooling it’s time to make the ganache.
The recipe says to do this over a double boiler but I’m a little, ok a lot, lazy. I heated the cream in a large heat-proof jug in 30 second bursts in the microwave until it started to bubble. I then added the chocolate to the cream, let it sit for a second then whisked it all together until it was smooth.
Pour the ganache over the top of the cooled cake and shake the pan a bit to make sure the top is nice and even.
Refrigerate the cake for at least two hours before serving. It can be made up to two days in advance and kept covered in the fridge.
Run a knife around the sides of the cake before opening the tin. I didn’t try to take it off the base of the pan, I just served it up as it was.
Cut it into slithers (it’s deliciously rich) and serve with vanilla ice-cream or whipped cream. Enjoy!
- 1 cup water
- ¾ cup caster (superfine) sugar
- 125g (5oz) plus 1 tbsp of butter, diced
- 510g (18oz) dark chocolate, chopped
- 6 large eggs
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 225g dark chocolate, chopped
- Pre-heat the oven to 160C(320F) fan-forced and spray a 24cm spring-form tin with oil.
- Wrap the entire outside of the pan with three layers of aluminum foil. I used 4 just to be sure. Make sure it wraps around the bottom and up to the rim of the tin.
- Place the water and sugar in a small saucepan and bring it to boil over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved.
- Reduce the pot to a simmer and heat it for a further 5 minutes then remove the pot from the heat.
- In another saucepan, melt the butter then add the chocolate and whisk it in until the mixture it smooth and the chocolate has melted.
- Pour in the sugar/water mixture and whisk it until it is incorporated into the chocolate.
- Leave it to cool slightly and then whisk in the eggs.
- Pour the batter into the tin and place the tin in a baking pan.
- Pour hot water into the baking pan until it reaches half way up the sides of the cake tin.
- Bake the cake inside the baking pan for 45-50 minutes or until there is no more jiggle in the middle when you shake the tin.
- Very very carefully remove it from the oven. Take the tin out of the water bath and leave it on a wire rack to cool completely in the tin.
- To make the ganache, heat the cream in a large heat-proof bowl in the microwave, 30 seconds at a time, until it starts to bubble. Add the chocolate and whisk it into the cream until it has all melted.
- Top it over the cake and spread it out so the top is flat.
- Transfer the cake to the fridge to set for at least 2 hours.
- This cake can be made up to two days in advance and kept covered in the fridge.