it has been several years since i’ve pulled out julia child’s Baking With Julia. this cookbook is full of wonderful dessert recipes as well cookies, breads, and danishes. her boca negra (flourless chocolate cake) is a favorite and it had been a few years since i’d made it. it has bourbon both in the white chocolate sauce and in the cake, which is supurb with both the white chocolate and bittersweet chocolate. this cake can be done in stages so it can be quite convenient if you want to do it ahead.
12 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup bourbon (or more to taste)
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup bourbon
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 10 pieces, at room temperature
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
prepare the white chocolate cream at least 1 day in advance: put the white
chocolate into the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade
or a blender container. heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan until small
bubbles form around the edge of the pan. pour the cream over the chocolate and
process until completely smooth. add the bourbon, taste, and add up to a
tablespoon more if you want. turn into a container with a tight-fitting lid
and chill overnight. the cream can be kept covered in the refrigerator for
a week or frozen for up to a month. if you’ve frozen the cream, thaw it
overnight in the refrigerator.
position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the
oven to 350 F. lightly butter a 9-inch round cake pan and line the bottom
with parchment or waxed paper; butter the paper. put the cake pan in a shallow
roasting pan and set aside until needed.
put the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl and keep close at hand. in a
2-quart saucepan, mix 1 cup of the sugar and the bourbon and cook over medium
heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes
to a full boil. immediately pour the hot syrup over the chocolate and stir
with a rubber spatula until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture
is smooth. piece by piece, stir the butter into the chocolate mixture. make
certain that each piece of butter is melted before you add another.
put the eggs and the remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a medium bowl and whisk
until the eggs thicken slightly. beating with the whisk, add the eggs to
the chocolate mixture and whisk until well-blended. gently whisk in the flour.
(if you want to make the cake batter in a food processor, put the chocolate
in the work bowl of the processor. bring all of the sugar and the bourbon
to a full boil and pour the syrup into the work bowl; process until the
mixture is completely blended, about 12 seconds. with the machine running, add
the butter in pieces, followed by the eggs, one at a time, and then the flour.
process an additional 15 seconds before turning the batter into the prepared
baking the cake: pour and scrape the batter into the prepared pan, running
your spatula over the top to smooth it. pour enough hot water into the
roasting pan to come about 1 inch up the side of the cake pan. bake the
cake for exactly 30 minutes, at which point the top will have a thin, dry
crust. Remove the cake pan from its water bath, wipe the pan dry and cover
the top of the cake with a sheet of plastic wrap. invert the cake onto a
flat plate, peel off the parchment and quickly but gently invert again
onto a serving platter, remove the plastic.
serve the cake warm or at room temperature with the chilled white chocolate
cream. serves about 12.
storing: once cooled, the cake can be covered with plastic and kept at
room temperature for 1 day or refrigerated for up to 3 days; bring to room
temperature before serving. for longer storage, wrap the cake airtight and
freeze it; it will keep up to a month. thaw overnight, still wrapped, in