Bête Noire (Flourless Chocolate Torte)

Valentine’s Day is usually pretty low-key for us.  This year, with House of Cards season 2 being released on Netflix, we decided to have a marathon.  Equipped with Chinese takeout, pink sparkling wine, a huge fuzzy blanket, and some very cuddly kitties, we had a very relaxing Valentine’s Day.  Of course, I had to make a dessert.  Alex requested bête noire, one of the absolute most decadent desserts I make.

I usually just make the cake itself, as it’s as rich as the inside of a chocolate truffle, but I perused different recipes this year to see if I could change it up at all.  Bon Appétit added chocolate ganache to theirs.  How could I resist even more chocolate?!  Oh, that’s right.  I couldn’t.

I still used the technique for my previous recipe, as they’re so much easier than the Bon Appétit recipe, in my opinion.  I made half a recipe, making one 6-inch cake, but you can easily double this recipe in a 9- or 10-inch cake round if you’re serving it up for a crowd (increasing the baking time slightly).  With just this 6-inch cake, we’ll be eating it for the next week!  Little slices are necessary with this rich, chocolatey beast of a cake (bête noire = the black beast, which is so deserving of a name for this cake).

Alex enjoys this best straight out the fridge, cold.  I like it slightly warmed up so the chocolate really melts in your mouth. This is a cake that is extremely easy to make and a huge crowd pleaser.  My neighbor used to always make this for neighborhood parties, and everybody always went crazy for it.

I definitely recommend serving this up with something to cut some of the chocolate flavor, be it whipped cream, fresh berries, raspberry sauce, or vanilla/berry ice cream.  This time, I decided to serve it up with some black raspberry ice cream.  Go big or go home with this cake, for sure!  I loved the contrast the light berry flavor gave to the deep, rich chocolate.

Did you do anything special for Valentine’s Day or make any special treats?


Bête Noire

yields one 6-inch cake

serves about 8

Bête Noire

    For the cake:
  • 9 oz. dark chocolate (I used 72%)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup coffee (or water)
  • 6 Tbsp demerara sugar (unrefined cane sugar)
  • 4 1/2 Tbsp butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • For the ganache topping:
  • 4 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 350ºF with the rack in the center of the oven.

Trace the bottom of a 6-inch round cake pan on parchment paper. Butter the 6-inch round cake pan (not springform) and place the circle of parchment paper on the bottom, covering it completely. Butter the paper. Set aside.

Place the dark chocolate and salt in the bowl of a food processor, and process until the chocolate is in tiny pieces. Crack the eggs into a measuring cup with a spout, and add the vanilla to the eggs.

Place the sugar and coffee (or water) into a small saucepan and bring it to a rolling boil.

With the processor on, add the boiling sugar syrup to the chocolate, processing until the chocolate has completely melted. Add the butter piece by piece, processing until smooth. Finally, add the eggs and vanilla. Process until the mixture is very smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing with a spatula.

Set the cake pan into a larger roasting pan. Put the pans in the oven, and pour hot water into the larger pan, reaching about halfway up the sides of the cake pan.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the center no longer moves when shaken gently. Remove from the larger pan, and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely in the pan. Transfer to the fridge once it becomes lukewarm to the touch to chill for 20 minutes to 1 hour.

While the cake is chilling, make the ganache by placing the chopped chocolate into a heat proof bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium low heat, until it just boils. Remove from the heat, and pour over the chopped chocolate. Whisk until the chocolate has melted. Add the vanilla and salt, whisking until smooth.

Once the cake is chilled, run a sharp knife around the sides to release the cake. Cover the cake with plastic wrap, and unmold it onto a cookie sheet. Invert a wire rack over the cake and flip it over, so the bottom of the cake is on the wire rack. Place the wire rack on top of the cookie sheet used previously.

Pour the chocolate ganache over the chilled cake, covering the entire cake. Because the cake is cold, it should set up nicely, but you'll probably have a bit drip down through the wire rack, which is fine. Place the glazed cake on the cookie sheet in the fridge until the ganache is set, about 20 minutes.

Carefully transfer the set cake onto a serving plate, and serve with whipped cream, fresh berries, or a contrasting flavored ice cream. This can be served cold, at room temperature, or slightly warmed (it's all up to your tastes). Enjoy!

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

adapted from Bon Appetit


  • macksmith

    This cake looks really awesome I think my kids really love this “Bête Noire (Flourless Chocolate Torte)” I try this cake on this occasion to my family.


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  • Maria

    Loved the clicks and the cake looks drooling :)