Preparing this recipe with my mother for the first time, who is a chocolate cake addict, we discovered unsightly things. Even splitting it in half, 1 cup of butter was entirely too much (sent my brother to the bathroom, and he has a strong stomach), the sugar was too much, and 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract is enough to send someone's vanilla craving into nirvana, or a normal person into crying. How that came to be, I'm not entirely sure. We also didn't have a springform cake pan at the time of the recipe, but we made do with it. The title was also misleading, since where did the "Double Chocolate" come from, if you're only using semisweet chocolate, and the consistency was very like wet fudge. Not fluffy in the least. It was still pretty good though, and it was fun to watch it sink.
The second time, we split every single ingredient up again. To recount, we split the first recipe's ingredients in half, then halved it again. This time, we stuck with 10 oz of chocolate. Still not enough, with the consistency still resembling wet fudge. Plus, it turned a little chewy, which was strange. At least we had a springform pan, which made presentation this much better.
We were getting addicted to this cake, but after eating some excellent chocolate mousse from Virginia Bakery, which is located in Berkeley, California for you nonCalifornians, we decided that we would need to make some changes to this recipe. My mom started using a 7 x 2.5 springform pan, to lessen how much we ate. First off, we would have to seperate the egg yolks, and egg whites. But, what good will that do? Well, after recalling about 4 years of Food Network knowledge, I realized that we would literally have to make a chocolate mousse. I hear the bells tolling. Also, it turns out that cream and sugar together, still isn't as good as condensed milk. It's basically evaporated milk that's with sugar. My Vietnamese friends use it in their tea, and dulce la deche is made from caramelizing it. Amazing stuff, so we substituted the cream and sugar with it. The third time, my mom whipped it up while I was taking a lengthy nap after coming home from the monotonous mistress the CAT6 (California Standardized Tests for elementary-8th grade students.), the cake came out entirely better. It was light, and airy, but still a little bit thick. We also grew impatient, and removed the cake too early, causing the bottom to become a partial amputee. Ouch.
The fourth time, we were in business. My mom and I decided that we were sick of having to measure out ounces of chocolate a time, so we dumped the whole 12 oz bag of semisweet chocolate. Moderation, be gone! We then followed what we did above, but we just beat the egg-whites to nearly-stiff peaks, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't matter. Came out light and lovely, with a softer center. Letting it sit in the fridge overnight also helped it develop and taste so much better.
If you sat through all of this, bravo. Let's move onto the recipe, shall we?
Flourless (Literally) Chocolate Mousse Cake
Supplies that I used:
7 x 2.5 Springform Pan (It's probably a little small for the rest of you, but just add some more of each or something.)
Chopsticks (Incredible multi-tasker for mixing, beating, picking up things, and everything in-between.)
Rubber spatula ( To get out every little amount of batter/condensed milk/chocolate.)
Whisk (To better to beat egg whites with, my pretty.)
Large Pan (To contain cold water, in use for helping the cake stay moist.)
Apron + every other common kitchen item needed for cooking
12 oz semisweet/70% chocolate
1/2 cup butter
Generous 1/2 cup of condensed milk
3 drops ____ extract
4 large eggs, seperated
1/8 teaspoon salt
I added in Godiva Chocolate Liquor, for a touch of something different, but you don't have to use it if it's not on-hand.
This is a very easy to make/clean/eat recipe.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and fill a large pan, with water coming up to 1/4 of it, and stick it in. If this process is familiar to any of you cake makers, it is. It's used to make cheesecake and other soft desserts moist.
Grease/spray 7' by 2.5' springform pan. (A springform pan is when the sides detach from the bottom, allowing for a prettier presentation and no torn cake.) Apply parchment paper to the bottom, no need to do fancy circle cutting.
In a heavy saucepan, over the lowest heat setting, heat semisweet chocolate, butter, condensed milk, ____ extract, and salt. Stir it to prevent it from burning, and take it off the heat once the mixture is smooth and chocolately.
In one large bowl, with chopsticks or a whisk, beat the seperated egg yolks until the film has broken; slowly pour in the slightly warm chocolate mixture into the egg yolks until it all combines. The heat was so gentle to the chocolate, that you have no risk of curdling or cooking the eggs. Make sure that you combine the egg-yolk/chocolate mixture well.
In another large bowl, place the four seperated egg whites in there, and start beating with your whisk (Sympathy is with you), or your handmixer/stand mixer, until it becomes nearly stiff peaks. That was the way that I had beaten it when I first made it, but if you reach stiff peaks, don't fret. When you leave it to sit, to do something else like stir the chocolate or take a phone call, a little bit of the egg-white seperating isn't much to worry about. Just beat it again if it's not at stiff-peaks, or just leave it alone.
Now, there are two ways to go about this for combining this into the cake batter:
1) This is the way that my mother did it. She merely just put the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture, and folded it together until it was combined. The result was a light-brown, fluffy mixture with streaks of egg-white running through it. Alton Brown did say that some of the best chocolate mousse he ever had was with streaks in them. It shows that you haven't become zealous and mixed the air out of it. The end result is supposed to be fluffy, and not resembling a punctured balloon.
2) I've seen this on quite a few Food Network shows. You would first mix some of the chocolate mixture with some of the egg-white, to lighten it, and then place the rest of the egg-whites in. If anyone has done this before, and had satisfactory/or better results, tell me :D
Pour the batter into the springform pan, and poke around in the cake pan to ensure that there are no air bubbles.
Bake 40-45 minutes until the toothpick, from 2 inches from the center, comes out clean. If not, just let it sit for a little while longer, like 30 seconds - 1 minute, and it should be fine.
When the cake is cool, remove the side of the pan, and flip it over to remove the bottom pan plate and the parchment paper. Then, cover it with plastic wrap and stick it in the refridgerator. During that time, the plastic wrap might form condensation from the heat, and have moisture droplets form inside and stick to the cake. Just remove the plastic wrap and replace with a new one. I recommend letting it sit overnight, for at least 8 hours. The colder it is, the much better it is.
The cake should be sunken a little, from the lack of flour. The eggs provided the support. The center is also a little bit softer and more luxurious than the rest, but everything's equally good. It's possible to finish this cake quickly, in the same amount of time as you prepared it.