These chocolate cubes at the bottom are actually Alice Medrich’s “Chocolate deception” cake that I failed to unmold and extracted in two pieces. I should have known better that this kind of cake wouldn’t be easy to separate from the pan after an overnight refrigeration. I should have trusted my inner voice and baked it in a spring-form pan wrapped in foil, just like a cheesecake. But frankly, I was too lazy to bother with foil, and Alice’s suggestion was to use a regular pan, so … that’s how it ended.

Since the initial plan to present the cake in one piece and slice it at the table was out of the question, I needed a plan B. The cake was chopped in cubes, divided between small bowls and topped with mocha chantilly – milk chocolate whipped cream infused with French-roast coffee beans. It all ended well. And nobody would have known about my little mishap if I hadn’t blogged about it.

By the way, the cake – is to die for. It’s rather melt-in-your-mouth dense chocolate mousse, than a cake. But what surprises the most is how being so rich in taste the cake contains so little fat. I do highly recommend it, only bake it in a spring-form pan.

Makes about 10 to 12 portions

For the cake (from Alice Medrich Bittersweet book):

  • 5 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¾ cup plus 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp rum or cognac
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cold eggs
  • 1 cold egg white

For the mocha chantilly:

  • 1½ cups whipping cream
  • ¼ cup French-roasted coffee beans, coarsely crushed
  • 150 g milk chocolate, finely chopped

Make the cake:

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F. Grease the sides of the 8-inch round spring-form pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper. Wrap the outside of the pan into several layers of heavy-duty foil. Put a kettle of water on to boil.

Place the chocolate in a large bowl and set aside.

Combine the cocoa, flour, ½ cup of the sugar, and the salt in a small heavy saucepan. Whisk in enough of the water to form a smooth paste, then whisk in the remaining water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly (especially around the edges of the pan) to prevent scorching, until the mixture begins to simmer. Simmer very gently, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Immediately pour the hot mixture over the chopped chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Whisk in the rum and vanilla.

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, egg white, and the remaining ½ cup sugar with an electric mixer at high speed until nearly doubled in volume, 5 to 6 minutes. The eggs will be very foamy but still liquid rather than thick. One third at a time, fold the eggs into the chocolate mixture. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

Set the cake pan in a large baking pan at least 2 inches deep. Pour enough boiling water into the baking pan to come halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake until the cake rises and crusts slightly on top and the surface springs back when gently pressed, about 30 minutes. The cake will still jiggle in the center, like very firm Jell-O, and the interior will be still quite gooey. Remove the cake pan from the water and cool completely on a rack. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight before serving.

To unmold, run an offset spatula or a thin knife around the edges, then unlatch the spring-form’s side ring. Transfer the cake to a serving platter. Refrigerate until ready to serve. If you wish, dust some icing sugar over the top of the cake before serving.

Make the mocha chantilly:

Place the cream and coffee into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often to prevent the cream from scorching. Take the saucepan off the heat, cover, and let steep for 20-30 minutes. Put the chopped chocolate into a large bowl. Bring the cream to a boil again and pour through a fine sieve over the chocolate. Let it sit for a minute, then whisk until the chocolate is melted and combined completely with the cream. Cool, then cover and refrigerate overnight before whipping. The day you plan to serve the dessert, whip the cream-chocolate mixture until medium peaks form. Spoon or pipe over the cake cubes, or offer the cream on a side if serving the cake cut in wedges.