This dead-easy chocolate cake recipe is committed to memory and is my go-to dessert for any occasion. It can be gussied up with a bit of ganache or seasonal fruit but it can also be left quite happily as it is. Served slightly warm with a scoop of ice cream or mascarpone cheese, this cake makes a simple and elegant end to any meal. It is also free of gluten, I find that rice flour creates a lovely moist texture, although you can use plain flour or ground almonds instead.
Serves 8 to 10
250g plus 2 tablespoons salted butter, for greasing the pan
250g best quality bittersweet chocolate
6 eggs, separated, at room temperature
250 g granulated sugar
6 tablespoons rice flour, plus extra for dusting the pan
Butter a 22cm cake pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment or waxed paper. Butter the paper and dust the pan with a bit of rice flour, shaking out the excess. Preheat the oven to 180°C
Place 250g butter in a mixing bowl and heat over barely simmering water. While the butter melts, chop the chocolate into small pieces. Add the chocolate to the butter and stir occasionally until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is very smooth. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
Whisk the egg yolks until just blended and beat in the sugar until just mixed. Whisk the yolks into the warm chocolate mixture, and fold in the rice flour.
In a separate bowl, beat the whites until soft peaks form. Fold the egg whites quickly into the chocolate mixture, taking care not to deflate them.
Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes. The cake is done when the sides are set but the centre of the cake is still soft. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan. The cake will develop cracks in the top as it bakes, and more will appear when it cools, but this is normal. When the cake has cooled to room temperature, you may cover the pan tightly with cling film if you are not serving it right away. It will keep for a couple of days and freezes beautifully.