On this Christmas Eve, I have a quick post for you that is all chocolate. My bookshelf holds a well-used issue of a Bon Appetit magazine; the cover shot features a piece of the most decadent, rich and fudgy flourless chocolate cake that is aptly named La Bête Noire, which translates to “The Black Beast”. I have served it many times for special occasions and it never disappoints. This year it was the perfect finale for a Christmas dinner feast with friends. The bottom layer of the cake consists of a flourless chocolate cake and to make it even more luxurious, a layer of ganache (cream and chocolate) is spread over the top. Whether it’s for Christmas, New Year’s Eve, a Birthday or Dinner party, La Bête Noire is one of my favorite elegant desserts. Someday when I find a 5” springform pan I may reduce the recipe by half, but for now I always make the full recipe of 16 slices of chocolate heaven.
The recipe may seem daunting, but it’s fairly simple to make as you can see below. It’s not included in this post but you can easily view and print the recipe here. To get started, you’ll need to prepare the springform pan for a bain marie, or water bath. Three pieces of foil are wrapped around the sides, which help protect the batter from the water and provide insulation during cooking.
A classic cooking method, the recipe uses a bain marie, or water bath, to cook the delicate cake. Now you can see why so much foil is needed around the springform pan.
Place the springform pan in the bottom of a large roasting pan, pour the batter into the springform pan and then pour hot water into the roasting pan, enough so it reaches halfway up the side of the cake pan. Bake for 50 minutes.
The decadent finish: a layer of Ganache is spread over the top. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 2 hours or overnight.
Serve with fresh whipped cream (if you have on hand, use a fresh vanilla bean for more flavor!) and savor every bite.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! I hope your celebrations are filled with chocolate, love, peace, joy and happy times.
We’re excited that snow is in the forecast this Christmas Eve, plus we’re expecting a White Christmas tomorrow! And thankfully, after being without heat for the last five days, our heater is being replaced this afternoon – sweet.