Servings: Serves 8
To make bittersweet chocolate cake: Place the oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 350°. Create a water bath for baking the cake by placing a roasting pan large enough to hold the cake pan on the middle rack and filling it almost halfway up with hot water.
Grease the bottom and the sides of a 9" heart-shaped baking pan. Place the heart-shaped baking pan on a piece of parchment paper. Trace around the bottom edges with a pencil. Then, cut the heart shape out of the parchment and lay it inside the heart-shaped pan. Finally, grease the top of the parchment paper.
Create a water bath to mix the chocolate by adding water to a medium-size saucepan and begin heating it to a low simmer on the stove top. In a stainless steel bowl, add the chocolate and 1/3 cup water together. Then, place the bowl over the rim of the simmering pot and stir frequently. The trick here is to slowly melt the chocolate without scorching it. Once the chocolate is completely melted and smooth, remove the bowl from the heat, set aside and allow it to cool.
In another stainless-steel bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar and salt until they are blended. Then, set the bowl over the simmering pot to warm the eggs. Be sure to whisk constantly for about 1 minute. Be careful not to let the water touch the bottom of the bowl, or you may end up with scrambled eggs! Transfer to a mixing bowl and use your wire whisk attachment to beat at high speed until the mixture has tripled in volume (approximately 3 minutes).
In another bowl, use a hand mixer to whip the heavy cream until it is firm and peaks just start to form.
Gently fold the cooled chocolate into the eggs. Once these are completely mixed, fold the whipped cream in to the mixture.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and place the pan into the roasting pan/water bath. The water should be halfway up sides of the cake pan. Be sure to use hot water if you need to add more.
Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Then, transfer the pan to a wire rack and let it cool for 25 minutes. Invert the cake onto a wire rack and gently peel off the parchment paper. Let the cake cool completely, then gently lift it from the cooling rack using a metal spatula (be careful) onto a plate. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
To make bittersweet chocolate glaze: Add the chocolate into a food processor and process until finely ground. Pour the ground chocolate into a ceramic bowl. In a small saucepan, add the cream and bring to a boil. Pour the hot cream into the ceramic bowl with the chocolate and stir until melted and smooth. Add the vanilla and stir (sometimes I put the ceramic bowl over a pan of simmering water to further melt the chocolate to a smooth a creamy consistency).
To glaze the cake, lift it off the plate gently and place it on a wire rack over a baking sheet to catch the excess chocolate. Pour the warm glaze over the top of the cake and use a knife or rubber spatula to spread it evenly all over the top and sides, covering the cake completely.
Let it set for 10 minutes. Using a metal spatula, lift the cake off the wire rack and place onto a cake plate. Decorate the top or edges with fresh flowers. It's very potent, so be careful—a little goes a long way!
Published on February 03, 2010