Ready in 1 hour
I tried this and found it easy and scrummy - This is what Nigella said;On days when I want the warmth of the hearth rather than the hurly burly of the city streets I stay in and read cookery books, and this recipe comes from just the sort of book that gives most succour, Classic Home Desserts by Richard Sax.
The cake itself (which was the pudding I made for last New Year's Eve dinner) is as richly and rewardingly sustaining: a melting, dark, flourless, chocolate base, the sort that sinks damply on cooling; the fallen centre then cloudily filled with softly whipped cream and sprinkled with cocoa powder. As Richard Sax says 'intensity, then relief, in each bite'.
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Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Line the bottom of the cake pan with baking parchment.
Melt the chocolate either in a double boiler or a microwave, and then let the butter melt in the warm chocolate.
Beat the 2 whole eggs and 4 egg yolks with 1/3 cup of the sugar, then gently add the chocolate mixture, the Cointreau and orange zest.
In another bowl, whisk the 4 egg whites until foamy, then gradually add the remaining sugar and whisk until the whites are holding their shape but are not too stiff. Lighten the chocolate mixture with a dollop of egg whites, and then fold in the rest of the whites. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the cake is risen and cracked and the centre is no longer wobbly. Cool the cake in its pan on a wire rack; the middle will sink as it cools.
When you are ready to eat, place the still pan-bound cake on a cake stand or plate for serving and carefully remove the cake from its pan. Don't worry about cracks or rough edges: it's the crater look we're going for here. Whip the cream until it's soft and then add the vanilla and Cointreau and continue whisking until the cream is firm but not stiff. Fill the crater of the cake with the whipped cream, easing it out gently towards the edges of the cake, and dust the top lightly with cocoa powder pushed through a tea-strainer.
You can make this into an Easter Nest Cake by folding 7 ounces of melted chocolate into the cream topping and dotting with sugar-coated eggs instead of the cocoa. Leave the Cointreau out of both the cake and the cream.
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