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Some food items are simply hard to photograph. Soup. Drinks. Flourless chocolate cake.

The taste of this cake is exceptional but photographing it is hard. The side is one solid slab of darkness. No grain or texture. Just a mass of dark something. This could probably double as part of a set on a science fiction film.

Except, this is no fiction. It’s a real cake, a real recipe. Both molten and flourless chocolate cake recipes abound. Sometimes, you can be a bit confused about what you are eating: is this kinda molten or flourless kinda? Here, there is no question. No molten anything. Deep, dark and dense.

Overpoweringly dense. I actually recommend that you not eat this by itself. The flavor is so overpowering, that a complement is needed. Unsweetened whipped cream — yes, whipped perhaps with a little vanilla but no sugar — is the perfect foil, and that follows in the recipe below.

Or vanilla ice cream. Better, French vanilla.

Or, a glass of port or brandy.

Just something to offset the relentless dense chocolate intensity. Hey, I’m not complaining here. I love this dessert, but everyone has their limits and this certainly pushed mine.

A heavy meal, say steaks off the grill, can often demand an equally intense dessert so that there is no “meal letdown.” You scale up your wine complexity during your meal. Dessert often follows the same pattern. If “light and delicate” won’t do, then it is time for the heavy artillery. This cake is just what you meal demands. There will be no complaints but quite possibly a few “Oh my Gods.”

The official name for this recipe is Chocolate Cracked Earth. Do not be concerned. It’s a massive creature and the thermal stress in your oven is going to create cracks. See, I told you this belonged in a science fiction film.


Chocolate Cracked Earth (aka Flourless Chocolate Cake)

Yield: serves 10


  • ·       1 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
  • ·       1 stick unsalted butter*
  • ·       9 large eggs, separated
  • ·       ¾ cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
  • ·       2 cups heavy cream, cold
  • ·       Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch spring form pan.

Put the chocolate and butter into the top of a double boiler (or in a heat proof bowl) and heat over (but not touching) about 1-inch of simmering water until melted. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a mixing bowl until light yellow in color. Whisk a little of the chocolate mixture into the egg yolk mixture to temper the eggs – this will keep the eggs from scrambling from the heat of the chocolate; then whisk in the rest of the chocolate mixture.

Beat the egg whites in a mixing bowl until stiff peaks form and fold into the chocolate mixture. Pour into the prepared pan and bake until the cake is set, the top starts to crack and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out with moist crumbs clinging to it, 20 to 25 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes, then remove sides of pan.

While the cake is cooking, make the whipped cream. Whip the cream until it becomes light and fluffy.

Serve at room temperature dusted with confectioners’ and the whipped cream.

Source: Tyler Florence on TheFoodNetwork.com

Photo Credits: Canon T2i, 18-55MM Macro lens, F/5.6, 1/10th second, ISO 3200