Once the hysteria subsided after I received a bigger-than-I-could-hold pack of this from my newly wed sister, a saintly calm descended upon me. Strangely, I didnt feel the urge to cut open the pack and look at it in real. “It has to be used for the right recipe, at the right time” I told myself. Baking has taught me something nothing else could- Patience. So I browsed and read while the buttery brown packet rested right in front of my eyes. And then, I found a recipe which promised to take me to chocolate heaven and I decided to take the Valrhona route. And the time didn’t matter. A true epitome of the french perfection, La Bête Noire, or The Black Beast is the richest, most decadent, most moist and velvety, most chocolatey chocolate cake that I have come across. No flour, no leavening agent, no folding egg whites. Just sugar syrup, butter, eggs and LOADS of chocolate, in one bowl is all you need to achieve this sophistication. And while the use of Ganache can be left to individual preferences, don’t miss out on strawberries (though any tart juicy berries would do) and no, they are not just for the show. When the cake has taken you to the chocolate heaven, these berries will lend you the nirvana. You can thank me later.
La bête noire
(Almost from here)
For the cake:
• 1 cup water
• 3/4 cup sugar
• 9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, diced
• 18 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
• 6 large eggs
For the ganache:
• 1 cup heavy whipping cream
• 8 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
• Lightly sweetened whipped cream
• Tart and juicy strawberries, or any other berries (optional but recommended)
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 10-inch-diameter springform pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment round; butter parchment. Wrap 3 layers of heavy-duty foil around outside of pan, bringing foil to top of rim. Combine 1 cup water and sugar in small saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
2. Melt butter in large saucepan over low heat. Add chocolate and whisk until smooth. Whisk sugar syrup into chocolate; cool slightly. Add eggs to chocolate mixture and whisk until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan. Place cake pan in large roasting pan. Add enough hot water to roasting pan to come halfway up sides of cake pan.
3. Bake cake until center no longer moves when pan is gently shaken, about 50 minutes. Remove from water bath; transfer to rack. Cool completely in pan.
4. Bring whipping cream to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and whisk until smooth. Pour over top of cake still in pan. Gently shake pan to distribute ganache evenly over top of cake. Refrigerate cake in pan until ganache is set, about 2 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated.