Originally published 10 April 2003
Recipe by C. Blake Powers
based on version from the Death By Chocolate TV show
double boiler or boiler and stainless steel bowls
4T + 1t unsalted butter
1/4 cup + 1t all purpose flour
3 whole eggs
3 oz. unsweet. choc. in pieces
2T unsweet. cocoa
1 C gran. sugar
2 oz. semisweet choc. in pieces
1t baking powder
1/4 cup sour cream
Preheat oven to 325o. Coat a 9-inch cake pan (round) with
unsalted butter. Measure dry ingredients (2nd column, above) together then
sift to ensure complete mixing and uniformity.
In a double boiler, melt butter over medium to medium-low heat. Add chocolate
and allow to melt. If you are in a rush, dump it all in at once and let it melt. I’ve
noticed no difference in texture, etc. for doing it this way. This is called a chocolate
As the chocolate is melting, break the 3 eggs into a
medium to large mixing bowl and whisk until blended. Then add 1 cup of
granulated sugar. Whisk until well blended. Then add 1 teaspoon of vanilla
and whisk again. If you eyeball the vanilla and use more, it does not
Mix melted butter and chocolate together, remove top part of
double boiler being sure to wipe the bottom of the pot to prevent any
condensation/water from getting into the chocolate or the mix. Pour
chocolate liqueur into egg mixture and whisk to blend. When well mixed, add
dry ingredients – whisk slowly at first to keep from spreading dry
ingredients all over kitchen. When this is mixed, add in sour cream and
repeat whisking. Once all ingredients of basic recipe are blended, then add
optional to your taste. I find 1/3 bag of semi-sweet chips is a very good
add to the mix.
Pour final mix into greased pan. Place in oven and bake
for app. 40 minutes. If additional ingredients are used, you may need to
increase baking time by 10 minutes. Cool on wire rack and cut in half.
1 cup of toasted, crushed (food processor) hazelnuts. These are best if
toasted and peeled a day or two ahead of time and soaked in some brandy or
Frangelica hazelnut liqueur. Use at least 2T.
Icing (Chocolate Ganache)
1.5 cups heavy cream
3T unsalted butter
3T granulated sugar
12 oz. semisweet chocolate in .5 oz. pieces — I find 14 is better and will
make icing darker. Up to 18 ounces can be used if desired. I also recommend
doubling the recipe to ensure enough for decorating and proper glazing of
Place chocolate in a large mixing bowl. Bring cream, sugar, and butter to a
boil in a saucepan. Keep a ladle in the pan to prevent boiling over and the
creation of messes. Pour boiling cream mix over chocolate pieces. Whisk
together until chocolate is melted and ensemble is completely mixed.
Reserve 1 cup of mix for decorating. I strongly suggest refrigerating it
for at least 1 hour. Mix 1/2 to 1 cup of mixture with hazelnuts. Again, I
strongly suggest refrigerating it for at least 1 hour until almost firm.
Reserve remainder for icing finished cake. This can be placed on top of
sauce pan containing water. Said pan can be placed on low to keep icing
fluid while other parts are chilling/firming.
Place bottom layer of cake on wire rack located over catch-pan.
Spread chocolate-hazelnut mixture on bottom layer of cake. Then place top
layer over hazelnut layer. Pour liquid ganache over the cake using ladle to
direct and ensure that top and sides are completely covered. Refrigerate
until ganache has set. Icing in pan can be added to that reserved for
decoration. FYI, cake does not have to be decorated as glaze is what is
presented in fine restaurants. If you want to decorate it, do what makes
My favorite is to bake two cakes and make the final cake either two- or
four-layer depending on humor of the moment. This will require all
ingredients, especially the ganache, to be doubled.
In place of hazelnuts, use raspberries. Run a bag of frozen raspberries through the food processor. Take 1 cup of the processed raspberries and soak them in 2T to 1/4 cup (or more) of Chambord raspberry liqueur for up to 24 hours. Then
mix them with 1 to 1.5 cups of the icing mixture and refrigerate until stiff. Then use in place of hazelnuts. For decorating, rinse and drain 1 pint of fresh raspberries and soak them in Chambord. Place these around the top of the cake. You can also place a few around the bottom for effect. If you want to be really decadent, place a chocolate chip in each of the firm, fresh raspberries.
The ganache can be much improved by adding additional chocolate, of the bittersweet and bitter chocolate varieties.