In Patricia Wells’ popular Bistro Cooking, there are two chocolate cake recipes—on opposing pages. Wells says that “one can never have too many chocolate cakes in one’s repertoire,” and I concur. I have made both and found the gateau from La Mas de Chastelas near Saint-Tropez to be better. Because the cake has to cool for hours, you can leave it in the springform pan, which makes for easy carrying. When you are ready to share, shower it with confectioner’s sugar and someone with love.
1 pound (500 g) bittersweet (around 60 percent) chocolate
8 oz (250 g) unsalted butter
10 eggs, separated
1/4 cup (50 g) sugar
1/4 cup (35 g) flour
Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and butter a 9 1/2-inch springform pan. Melt together chocolate, butter, and sugar and set aside to cool. Whisk egg yolks into chocolate, and then whisk in flour. Beat egg whites until they form stiff peaks; do not overbeat. Fold into chocolate, pour batter into pan, and bake 15-20 minutes until the middle begins to rise. Remove cake and place a plate over the pan for 10-15 minutes (the cake continues to cook gently in its own steam, but will not set completely) until the middle has risen. Allow to cool completely in pan; serve at room temperature.