There exists a contingency of people -- the author of this recipe newsletter among them -- who feel that dessert is not worth the trouble or calories if it does not involve chocolate. In honor of those people, we offer a week of indulgent chocolate recipes, starting with this one from the new cookbook "Absolutely Chocolate" by the editors of Fine Cooking magazine.
For the cake:
3/4 ounce (1/4 cup) unsweetened natural cocoa powder, sifted if lumpy; more for the pan
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12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (2 1/4 cups)
6 ounces (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces; more for the pan
5 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons water
For the glaze:
1/4 pound bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (3/4 cup)
1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) unsalted butter
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 300 degrees. Lightly butter the bottom of a 9x2 round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment. Lightly butter the parchment and the sides of the pan and dust with cocoa. Tap out any excess cocoa.
Melt the chocolate and butter together in a medium bowl and let cool slightly. With a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt and 2 tablespoons water. Beat on medium-high speed until the mixture is very foamy, pale in color, and doubled in volume, 2 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually pour the chocolate mixture. Increase the speed to medium high and continue beating until well blended, about 30 seconds. Add the cocoa and mix on medium low just until blended, about 30 seconds.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a pick inserted in the center comes out looking wet with small gooey clumps, 40 to 45 minutes. Don't overbake. Let cool in the pan on a rack for 20 minutes. If necessary, gently push the edges down with your fingertips until the layer is even. Run a small knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake. Cover the cake pan with a wire rack and invert. Remove the pan and parchment and let the cake cool completely. The cake may look cinched in and around its sides, which is fine. Transfer to a cake plate. Cover and refrigerate the cake until it's very cold, at least six hours or overnight.
Glaze the cake: Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave or in a medium metal bowl set in a skillet of barely simmering water, stirring with a rubber spatula until smooth. Pour the warm glaze over the chilled cake and, using an offset spatula, spread the glaze evenly to within 1/4 inch of the edge. Refrigerate the cake until the glaze is set, 20 to 40 minutes. Before serving, remove the cake from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature, 20 to 30 minutes. To serve, cut the cake into small, if not tiny, slices using a hot knife.