Celebrate Chocolate With A Rich, Homemade Cake!

The dawn of a new year presents plenty of opportunities to look to the future. Resolutions are made each January, with most centering on ways to get healthy. Not all resolutions need to be of the healthy, however. Once in a while it is fine to indulge, so a resolution to entertain more or to explore new baking opportunities can spice things up in the year ahead.

People aspiring to spend more time in the kitchen can celebrate winter baking and National Chocolate Cake Day (January 27) simultaneously. This recipe for “French Silk” from “Classic Stars Desserts” (Chronicle Books) by Emily Luchetti is for serious chocolate lovers. This fudgelike mousse cake pairs plenty of rich flavors and showcases the chocolate in this decadent cake.

French Silk
Serves 12

3⁄4 cup walnuts, toasted
1 cup pecans, toasted
1⁄2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
4 ounces (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

11⁄4 pounds bittersweet chocolate, chopped
6 ounces (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3⁄4 cup granulated sugar
6 large eggs (use pasteurized eggs if you are concerned about eating uncooked eggs)
1⁄4 cup heavy whipping cream
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

To make the crust: In a food processor, combine the walnuts, pecans, brown sugar, and cinnamon and pulse until the nuts are coarsely chopped. Pour the nuts into a bowl, add the butter, and stir until the nuts are evenly moistened. Press the nut mixture evenly onto the bottom of a 9-inch round springform pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

To make the filling: Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. While the chocolate is melting, combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and add the eggs two at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, increase the speed to medium-high, and whip until well blended, about 2 minutes. The mixture will look curdled.

Remove the melted chocolate from the heat and stir until smooth and warm but not hot. With the mixer on low speed, add the chocolate to the egg mixture. Scrape the sides and along the bottom of the bowl and then continue to mix on low speed until the chocolate is fully incorporated. Add the cream and vanilla and mix until blended. Spread the filling over the crust. Refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours.

To make the topping: In a bowl, whisk together the cream and sugar until soft peaks form. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Using a spatula, spread the topping over the top of the cake. Run a hot, dry knife around the inside edge of the pan to loosen the cake, then remove the pan sides and set the cake on a serving platter. Slice the cake with a hot, dry knife and serve chilled.

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