This recipe comes with accolades from Nick Malgieri, author of Chocolate: From Simple Cookies to Extravagant Showstoppers (Harper Collins, 1998). It may be made in advance-bring to room temperature before serving. It is particularly luxurious with Collection Etienne 61% Cacao Semisweet Chocolate wafers or 72% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate wafers, and Grand Marnier liqueur.
One very rich 8-inch cake, about 8-10 servings
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
12 ounces (2 cups) Collection Etienne 61% Cacao Semisweet Chocolate or 72% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate wafers
1/3 cup sweet liqueur, such as Cointreau or Chambord
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar
One 1/2-pint basket fresh raspberries, optional
One 8-inch round pan, buttered and the bottom lined with buttered parchment or buttered wax paper, cut to fit.
Set a rack at the middle level of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees.
Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil over low heat, stirring occasionally to make sure all the sugar crystals dissolve.
Remove the syrup from the heat and stir in the butter and chocolate; allow to stand for 5 minutes. Whisk smooth.
Whisk liqueur, then the eggs, one at a time, into the chocolate mixture. Be careful not to overmix.
Pour the batter into the pan and place in a small roasting pan. Pour 1 inch of warm water into the roasting pan. Bake about 45 minutes, until dessert is set and slightly dry on the surface. Remove cake pan from roasting pan. Cool to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate dessert in pan several hours or until chilled. To unmold, run a knife between the dessert and the pan and pass the bottom of the pan over heat for no more than 10 seconds. Invert onto a platter.
To finish, whip the cream with the sugar until it holds a soft peak. Spread the whipped cream over the top of the dessert. If you wish, decorate the top with the raspberries.
Cover and refrigerate leftovers. Bring to room temperature before serving.