I own cookbooks. A lot of cookbooks. Because I went to culinary school, more than a few are “high brow” with fancy titles and ridiculously complicated instructions. But, I am not above using recipes when and where I can find them. (As I’ve mentioned before, I love those fundraiser cookbooks where most recipes include a can of some creamed or condensed soup along with a casserole pan.) At my heart, I am a recipe scavenger—stealing them from friends, copying them on the backs of box mixes, or finding the occasional scrap of paper tucked into a long forgotten book.
This is why I am proud to say that one of my favorite go-to, cannot fail dessert recipes comes from a catalog—Williams-Sonoma to be precise. If you’ve never gotten their catalog, I suggest you subscribe. I am relentless about removing catalog clutter from my home, but W-S is a main stay. (Mostly because I like to dream about all the pretty, shiny things I would own if I had an unlimited budget and a king-sized kitchen. Tunisian hand-painted tagine? Every kitchen needs one!) But the recipes are pretty great as well.
If you want to save trees, they have some of the recipes online. But it’s so much better to see the picture of the Belgian waffle maker, recipe for Belgian waffles, and the picture of Belgian waffle mix (you know, just in case the make-it-from scratch thing sounded too complicated) all happily laid out in enticing fashion.
The recipe I bring you today is so old it’s not even on the W-S web site. And, I will admit that I didn’t buy the over-priced cake pan or funky shaped whisk that they recommended. (The recipe still works just fine.)
Chocolate Espresso Cake
- 9 oz chopped bittersweet chocolate (use a better brand because you’re really going to taste the chocolate)
- 1 C (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 2 T dark rum
- 1 T instant espresso powder (If you can’t find it at your regular grocery store [in the coffee aisle], check an Italian or Mexican market. It keeps in the freezer so don’t worry about having a ton leftover.)
- ⅓ C all-purpose flour
- 1½ C sugar
- 6 large eggs
- 2 t vanilla extract
- ¼ t salt
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a round 9” nonstick cake pan. Melt chocolate and butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat, stir constantly until smooth. (Be patient so you don’t burn the chocolate!) Once everything is melted, remove from heat.
Stir rum and espresso powder in a large bowl until espresso dissolves. Whisk sugar and eggs into espresso mixture to blend. Whisk in vanilla and salt.
Slowly stir in the warm melted chocolate mixture, then flour. (Stir until the flour is mixed in, but do not over do it.) Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake until cake just puffs in the center, about 45 minutes.
Cool pan on rack, 15 minutes. Cake will deflate as it cools; using a knife guide edges into pan as it cools. Run a sharp, small knife around edges of cake. Turn cake out onto rack and cool completely.
We’re not done yet! As the cake cools, make the glaze (which is really key to the amazing chocolaty goodness that is this dessert).
Chocolate Espresso Cake Glaze
- 1 T dark rum
- 1 t instant espresso powder
- ½ C whipping cream
- 1 T unsalted butter
- 6 oz chopped bittersweet chocolate
- 2 T corn syrup
Stir rum and espresso powder in small bowl until espresso dissolves. Bring cream and butter to boil in heavy small saucepan. Remove from heat, add chocolate and stir until smooth. Stir in rum mixture and corn syrup. Let glaze stand at room temperature until no longer hot, but still liquid.
Place cake on cardboard round (OK, I admit to never doing this. I just put it on the platter in which it will be served. Make sure it’s big enough to catch drips.) Gradually pour glaze over cake, covering completely. (I usually run my knife over the top and around the sides to make sure everything is coated. You will have a lot of drippy chocolate glaze going on. Be prepared for a bit of a mess.)
Chill until glaze is set. Cake can be made two days ahead. Keep refrigerated.
I typically serve the cake with berries (rasp and black variety). It’s definitely rich enough to stand on its own. But if you need some sort of cold cream, I would suggest plain, freshly whipped cream rather than ice cream.
When serving, slice it thin. This cake is decadent and ridiculously rich. Because it can be made ahead of time, it’s perfect for weeknight guests or the grab-and-go potluck.