There are chocolate cakes and then there is this French Chocolate Cake or “Moelleux au Chocolat Gateau” as it is known in France.
Stirred together with just five of the usual pantry suspects, this cake is as easy to bake as it is impressive in its end result. Yes, it’s intensely-rich but magnificently-moist too with a gloriously gooey texture that all but melts on the palate! In fact you might notice some similarities between this French chocolate cake and molten lava cakes, in terms of both the ingredients and steps. What sets this recipe apart is that it is baked in a larger cake pan (rather than individual ramekins) and for a longer time in the oven.
This cake also goes by the name “Suzy’s Cake” in a nod to the driving inspiration behind the original recipe – Suzy Palatin, a cookbook author and good friend of the renowned pastry chef Pierre Hermé. To quote Hermé himself, this revelatory cake is “extraordinarily good and very simple to make”!
Tips For Making The Best French Chocolate Cake
- Use good-quality dark chocolate. This recipe relies on pure chocolate, with not a fleck of cocoa powder in the batter. Steer clear of using compound chocolates (such as Morde’s) as these have an oily palate feel due to the vegetable fat often used to replace cocoa butter in this type of chocolate. Instead, try to use a high quality dark chocolate (preferably couverture) with a cocoa content of 70% or higher. Valrhona (available from Cococart) is an excellent choice, as is Mason & Co (if you’re going #vocalforlocal). In terms of other Indian local brands, you can also go for Amul’s chocolate bars (specifically their single origin bars) which are competitively well-priced as well being quite flavourful. More tips on baking with chocolate, here.
- Prepare your cake pan well. You can use a springform pan or a regular cake pan for this recipe. Make sure to place a circle-shaped liner at the bottom of the pan, buttering the paper and the sides of the pan well in order to facilitate easy removal of the cake after baking.
- Let the cake cool down completely. There is very little flour in this recipe; as such, the cake is still a bit delicate when removed from the oven. Place the pan on a wire rack and let the cake cool down to room temperature before inverting the cake out onto a serving plate.
This recipe cannot be made without eggs. As there is very little flour used, eggs are what give structure and richness to this cake; however, if you are looking for eggless recipes, you can browse our collection of the best eggless chocolate desserts, here.
French Chocolate Cake Recipe
- 125g dark chocolate, chopped.
- ½ cup unsalted butter (if using salted butter, simply omit adding salt separately)
- 1/3 cup caster sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 4 tbsp flour
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
Note: this recipe makes a 6 inch cake; double the recipe if you are using a 9 inch cake pan.
- Preheat oven to 180C. Butter a 6 inch cake pan, covering the bottom with parchment paper. Grease the paper and the sides of the pan with butter; set aside.
- Add the chocolate and butter to a heatproof mixing bowl and set this over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring until the chocolate and butter have melted evenly. Set aside.
- Beat the eggs and sugar together until the mixture is thick and creamy (pale yellow in colour). Whisk in the vanilla extract.
- Once the melted chocolate has cooled slightly, beat it into the eggs and sugar mixture until evenly combined and smooth.
- Gently fold in the flour (and salt) until no visible streaks remain. Don’t over-mix!
- Pour the batter into the prepped pan and smoothen the surface with a rubber spatula/ offset spatula. Bake at 180C for 25 – 30 minutes. The surface of the cake might crack whilst baking – this is normal! When checking for doneness, a toothpick plunged in the centre will emerge with a little moist batter attached.
- Let the cake pan cool down on a wire rack and come to room temperature before running a sharp knife around the edges of the cake pan and inverting the cake out onto your serving plate. Make sure the cake has completely cooled before serving, preferably with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or crème fraîche.
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