The Black Beast – la Béte Noire

 The Black Beast - a dark, dense, intensely chocolatety cake, worthy of it's unusual name. It's also incredibly versatile and a great addition to your dessert arsenal.

The black what?! Did you say beast? Yes, that’s exactly what I said – it’s actually the literal French translation of la Béte Noire. If you are a chocolate lover, you will totally understand why this dessert has such a crazy name; its dark, deep, intense, rich, silky and well, just beastly delicious! …. but I’m thinking of renaming this extraordinary dessert to The Little Black Dress … hmmmm ……….. that doesn’t sound quite as exotic, does it?……… how about in French; are you ready? la petite Robe Noire, ooooooh! I like that much better! What do you think?

The Black Beast - a dark, dense, intensely chocolatety cake, worthy of it's unusual name. It's also incredibly versatile and a great addition to your dessert arsenal.

Seriously, this is one of the most amazing, yet most versatile desserts in my collection. Just like the proverbial little black dress, this dessert can be served in as many ways as your imagination can digress. I served it, this time, with Chocolate Velvet Sauce, a dollop of whipped cream, some tiny candy canes and a few holly leaves for a beautiful seasonal holiday dessert, but it can go a myriad of other ways; on top of a pool of Ridiculous Easy Salted Caramel Sauce or , along side a scoop of Vanilla Bean Yogurt drizzled with Dulce de leche Sauce and sprinkled with Maple & Sea Salt Pecans. I’ve served it with fresh strawberries or raspberries, but any fresh season fruit and a bit of whipped cream or créme fraiche would certainly be fabulous!

The preparation is quite simple, no mixer required, although you do need a springform pan.  The only part of the prep that is out of the ordinary is the water bath used to bake the tart. A water bath is simply a large pan filled with hot water. The springform pan is wrapped with heavy duty foil (to keep the water out) and placed in the water bath to bake. This allows the tart  to bake very slowly, gently and evenly, keeping it moist and tender. A ganache is made while the tart is baking. Ganache may sound like a fancy word, but it’s just cream and chocolate – that’s it! The ganache is poured over the tart after it’s baked and then cooled to form a deep dark smooth fudge topping, the pièce de résistance of this fine dessert!

The Black Beast - a dark, dense, intensely chocolatety cake, worthy of it's unusual name. It's also incredibly versatile and a great addition to your dessert arsenal.

La Béte Noire is an amazing special occasion dessert but there are just a few other things you need to know – expect groans of delight from this literal melt-in-your mouth delight……. oh and  you might even catch one of your guests picking up the plate and licking it clean when they think no one’s looking – it’s THAT good! Just don’t say I didn’t warn you! Enjoy!

The Black Beast - a dark, dense, intensely chocolatety cake, worthy of it's unusual name. It's also incredibly versatile and a great addition to your dessert arsenal.
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The Black Beast – la Béte Noire

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, diced
  • 18 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used good quality chocolate chips)
  • 6 large eggs
  • For the ganache:
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 8 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used good quality chocolate chips)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 10-inch-diameter springform pan with baking spray.Wrap 3 layers of heavy-duty foil around outside of pan, bringing foil to top of rim. Combine 1 cup water and sugar in small saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  2. Melt butter in large saucepan over low heat. Add chocolate and whisk until smooth. Whisk sugar syrup into chocolate; cool slightly. Add eggs to chocolate mixture and whisk until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan. Place cake pan in large roasting pan. Add enough hot water to roasting pan to come halfway up sides of cake pan.
  3. Bake cake until center no longer moves when pan is gently shaken, about 45-50 minutes. Remove from water bath; transfer to rack. Cool completely in pan.
  4. For the ganache, bring whipping cream to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and whisk until smooth. Pour over top of cake still in pan. Gently shake pan to distribute ganache evenly over top of cake. Refrigerate cake in pan until ganache is set, about 2 hours. Can be made ahead up to 2 days. Cover and keep refrigerated.
  5. Run knife around pan sides to loosen cake; release sides. Cut cake into wedges and serve with whipped cream and/or your choice of toppings.


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