Chocolate Cloud Cake with Raspberry Ripple Cream
So light, so fluffy, and nary a speck of flour in sight! Unlike other flourless chocolate cakes, this one ends up light due to the whipped egg whites.
8 ounces (225g) best-quality bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup (110g) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into 1-tablespoon pieces
6 large eggs
1 cup (200g) sugar
2 tablespoons cognac or Grand Marnier (optional)
Finely grated zest of 1 orange (about 1 tablespoon; optional)
Raspberry Ripple Cream:
Fresh raspberries or other berries
1.5 cups heavy cream, cold
3 tbsp confectioner's sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
To make the cake:
Heat the oven to 350°F (175°C), with a rack in the center. Line the bottom of an 8-inch (20cm) springform pan with parchment paper. (Do not butter the pan and parchment.)
Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over but not touching gently simmering water in a saucepan. You can whisk it occasionally to help it along. When it’s melted, remove the bowl from the heat and whisk in the butter until smooth.
In two small bowls, separate 4 of the eggs. In a large bowl, whisk 2 whole eggs and the 4 egg yolks with 1/2 cup (100g) of the sugar just until combined. Slowly whisk in the warm chocolate mixture. Whisk in the Cognac and the orange zest. Using a handheld mixer in a separate bowl, beat the 4 egg whites until foamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the remaining 1/2 cup (100g) sugar and beat until beautifully glossy, soft peaks form that hold their shape but aren’t quite stiff, about 5 minutes more. Very gently fold about a quarter of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, then gently fold in the remaining whites. Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top.
Set the pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until the top is puffed and cracked and the center is no longer wobbly, 35 to 40 minutes. Be careful not to bake the cake beyond this point.
Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack. The center of the cake will sink as it cools, forming a sort of crater—this is good! Let the cake cool completely on a rack.
To make the raspberry ripple cream:
Smush together the berries with a fork or potato masher. (If you want to get fancy, you can make a coulis and strain out the seeds, but this isn't required.)
Whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla to soft peaks.
Gently stir in the berries, making sure not to overstir so that the cream and berries swirl together nicely.
Using a spatula, fill the sunken center of the cake with the whipped cream, swirling the cream to the edges of the crater. Dust the top lightly with confectioner's sugar.
Run the tip of a knife around the edge of the cake, carefully remove the sides of the pan, and cut into wedges to serve.
Store any leftovers airtight in the refrigerator—they won’t be very presentable but they’ll make a delicious moussey snack.