David Lebovitz’s Racines Cake

You absolutely have to bake this cake. When I first received his book ‘Ready for Dessert’, that is the first item that I wanted to bake (as you can see, there are many recipes that I want to try too) because it is so easy to bake and from his description, it really sounds marvelicious!

Racines is a restaurant in Paris and while David was in the men’s room, his eyes caught sight of a recipe for chocolate cake. After he returned from his table. he noticed a chocolate cake with the same name on the menu and so ordered it. It was so delicious, he wrote, that he returned to the men’s room, this time with a pad of paper and pen with him.

The cake is good when eaten on the day it is baked. We consumed it the next day and it was… still good! It was moist and rich with chocolate and not too sweet. If you are not used to cocoa nibs (peeled roasted cocoa beans transformed into chunks), you can opt them out. Okay, my pictures don’t really do justice to the cake but until I have my multi-card reader fixed, I just have to bear with this.

Oh, forgot to say this: for goodness’ sake, use good quality chocolate. =)

makes one 9-inch cake

Cocoa powder, for preparing the pan
280 g bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup (115 g) salted butter, cut into pieces
1 tablespoon freshly brewed espresso
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1/4 cup (50 g) plus 2 tablespoons (30 g) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons (20 g) cocoa nibs (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch (23-cm) springform pan, dust it with a bit of cocoa powder, and tap out any excess.

In a large heatproof bowl, combine the chocolate, butter, and espresso. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir occasionally until the mixture is melted and smooth. Remove the bowl from the heat and stir in the vanilla.

In a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, whisk together the egg yolks and the 1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar on medium-high speed until the mixture is light and creamy, about 1 minute. [I didn’t use the stand mixer but purely used the hand whisk and used the arm power to do the job. Tiring but still all right.]

In a clean, dry bowl and with a clean whip attachment, whisk the egg whites on low speed until they begin to hold their shape. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons (30 g) granulated sugar and whisk on high speed until the whites hold soft peaks.

Fold the beaten egg yolks into the melted chocolate mixture, then fold in half of the whipped egg whites. Fold in the remaining whites, mixing just untiI there are no visible streaks of egg whites. Don’t overfold.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, sprinkle with cocoa nibs, if using, and bake until the cake feels as though it’s just barely set in the center, about 25 minutes . It shouldn’t feel too firm. Let cool completely.

Run a knife around the sides of the cake to help loosen it from the pan. [I didn’t have to do that] Release the sides of the pan.

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