Birthday Decadence

I had a special request for flourless chocolate cake with mint chocolate sauce for her 34th birthday. Far be it from me to deny any chocolate wishes!

I cheated a bit on the cake, as it does have a tablespoon of flour but it is so richly chocolate that it lives up to its name of Chocolate Decadence. I kicked it up a notch by going to Martha Stewart for the mint chocolate ganache and then raised the bar even higher with Creme de Menthe whipped cream.

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Chocolate Decadence

1 lb. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
10 tablespoon (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

To make the cake, position a rack in the middle of an oven and preheat to 425ºF. Butter an 8 or 9-inch springform pan or a layer cake pan. Line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper or waxed paper cut to fit precisely. Butter the paper and dust with cocoa; tap out any excess.

Place the chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl or the top pan of a double boiler. Set over a pan of gently simmering water but not touching the water. Stir occasionally until melted and combined completely. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

Place the eggs and sugar in a bowl. Using an electric mixer set on high speed, beat until light, fluffy and tripled in volume, 5 to 10 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and beat in the flour. Using a rubber spatula, fold one-third of the egg mixture into the chocolate to lighten it, then fold in the remaining egg mixture, taking care not to deflate the batter. Pour and scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

Bake for exactly 15 minutes. Let cool completely to room temperature. Do not refrigerate or the cake will stick to the pan. Invert the cake onto a flat serving plate and peel off the paper.

Cut into small wedges and serve.

Mint Chocolate Ganache

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
9 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the cream to a simmer.

Place chocolate in a medium bowl; set aside. Pour cream over chocolate and let
melt for 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk together until chocolate is fully melted. Add butter,
extract, and salt, whisking after each addition to incorporate.

Once butter is fully incorporated, allow ganache to stand until slightly thickened and glossy.

Creme de Menthe Whipping Cream

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 tablespoon Creme de Menthe liquor
5 tablespoons granulated sugar

Whip the cream on high speed until soft peaks are formed. Add the vanilla, creme de menthe and sugar and whip to desired consistency. Dollop on chocolate cake.

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