French Chocolate Cake

What I like do on some nights is to snuggle up in bed, warm and toasty, in my cosy PJs, with a recipe book or two. It is quite comforting especially when Mr. G isn’t there to provide me the same service. In bed with my cooking books is almost therapeutic. Gorgeous pictures; fascinating words; fresh, everyday ingredients; I’m as happy as a cat with a saucer of cream.

This recipe is from a French recipe book I stole from Mr. M. I’m sure he won’t miss it much. He’s hardly got any time to cook anyway. Besides, I’m putting it to respectable use. Poor thing. Never quite understand why people don’t use their cooking books.

It takes a bit more

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work but all work of effort is a work of art. And I have the proof looking at me on my kitchen bench, smelling like heaven. Sweet mother of sugar, this is one cake you want to bottle up and spray on whenever you need a lift. (And bless those French, they really do know a thing or two about food).

French Chocolate Cake
1/2 cup caster sugar
280g dark chocolate, chopped
125g unsalted butter, softened and chopped
2 tsp vanilla essence
5 eggs, separated
1/4 cup of flour, sifted
3 tsp of instant coffee* (optional)
pinch of salt
3 tbsp of caster sugar, set aside
cocoa powder to dust

The Work
1. Preheat oven to 160c.
2. Butter round baking tin and coat with caster sugar. Knock excess off.
3. Put the chocolate, butter, instant coffee and sugar in a bowl over a pot of hot water. Keep the heat low to medium-low. Stir until smooth.
4. Remove from heat and add vanilla essence.
5. Beat egg yolks into chocolate mix; one by one. Make sure it’s thoroughly blend in before you add the next sunshiny yolk.
6. Stir in flour. At this point, the runny mixture will turn quite solid but don’t panic! The following steps will guarantee a crusty, chewy exterior but soft and moist insides:
7. In a clean (no grease, totally dry and dustless) bowl,

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beat egg whites until fluffy.
8. Increase speed, add salt and beat until peak forms.
9. Add 3 tbsp of caster sugar into the mixture. Continue beating until egg whites are stiff and glossy.
10. Fold in the chocolate mix.
11. Pour mixture into baking tin and tap gently to release any air bubbles.
I won’t say how long it’ll take to bake the cake. Once the room starts to smell like Charlie’s Chocolate Factory, check it with the good-ol’ skewer test. It’ll take time for this darling to cook so keep watch of it from time to time.

Let it cool and let it sink. It’s meant to be. Then, dust liberally with cocoa powder.


  1. Davina says

    This looks divine! I definitely want to make it but have a few questions (I’m one of those rookie bake-on-a-whim types).

    How big, diameter wise, was the tin you used? And for the dark chocolate, did you use 70% or any generic dark chocolate?

  2. Mable Tan says

    Hi Dav,
    I used a 20cm cake tin and generic dark chocolate. This was one of my first attempts at cake making (from scratch) so if I were to do things differently, I’d used a 20cm springform cake tin and good quality dark chocolate. Will still taste good no matter though. <3

  3. Davina says

    Thanks for the reply :)
    I was planning to use good quality dark chocolate; found it makes a world of a difference in chocolate brownies and the like. Thanks again for the tips :)

  4. Davina says

    Still haven’t baked this cake but am planning to do so today but one more question: what type of flour? Self-raising or plain? Does it actually matter?

  5. says

    I used self-raising for this recipe.

    Yes, it does matter. Self-raising is incorporated with baking powder which will allow the cake to rise.

    If you only have plain flour, add 1/2 tsp of bi-carb soda with 1/2 tbsp of lemon juice.

  6. Davina says

    I knew I forgot to do something!

    The cake turned out very well! More bitter than I expected and I think I would have appreciated it better without the coffee. Was definitely worth hand whisking those egg whites though…that killed my pour arms! I was a bit concerned that my mix wasn’t as stiff as you implied before I added the egg whites but it all turned out good in the end.

    It was definitely appreciated by my family and one to make again!

  7. says

    Hello, I tried this chocolate cake recipe some days ago but somehow couldn’t get the same result as you, my cake really wasn’t looking that good (but tasted fine). What kind of chocolate are you using? Maybe it’s because of the flour I used, i’m gluten intelorant so I used chickpea flour instead of usual wheat flour.

  8. Mable Tan says

    Hi Gayle, I’m not sure why it didn’t turn out but I have my suspicion that it could be the flour. As far as I know, different flour have different moisture content etc. and perhaps you can find out more online. Let me know what you find.


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