Don't go hunting for your steam iron, you're just going to flatten the cake with a plate after baking.

This luscious dessert delivers a direct chocolate hit without the usual fudge brownie or "candy bar" texture. Use the best extra-bittersweet chocolate you can find, preferably Callebaut or Green & Black's. Lindt and Ghirardelli products are more readily available and you might prefer the taste. Hershey's Special Dark or regular chocolate chips wouldn't make the grade here; they are too sweet, and you need chocolate with about a 70% cacao content.

I've been told this can easily be made kosher for Passover1 because the leavening ingredient is egg whites. But don't rely on my word; I was raised Episcopalian, and don't even give up chocolate for Lent.

7 oz. extra bittersweet chocolate
14 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra to grease pan
5 large eggs, separated into whites and yolks (room temperature)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
Sweetened whipped cream
Fresh raspberries

Adjust your oven rack to the bottom third, and preheat to 350oF/180oC. Butter a 10-inch springform baking pan, then line the bottom with a round of buttered baking parchment paper. Be sure to reassemble the pan with a tight seal, you don't want batter leaking and burning on the bottom of your oven.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler, then transfer the mixture to a medium-sized bowl. (You can do this in a microwave oven if you are careful, but I'm guessing if you have a 10-inch springform pan you also have a double boiler set - or are comfortable with improvising one).

Lightly beat the egg yolks with the vanilla in a small bowl, then quickly blend in a bit of the chocolate-butter mixture. Whisk the yolks into the chocolate. Add the sugar. Sift in the cocoa and whisk to blend.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt until soft peaks form. Fold one-third of the whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten the batter, then gently fold in the remainder. Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake 30 minutes.

Remove cake from oven and place it on a wire cooling rack. Loosen the sides of the springform pan, but do not completely remove. Top cake with a smooth-bottomed dinner plate; press to deflate. Remove plate and pan sides. Cool to room temperature (do not chill). If you are plating from the kitchen, serve individual portions with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream and a few fresh raspberries.

Serves at least 8 people, even chocoholics. If you cut small pieces you'll have leftovers for breakfast.

(Hat-tip: Chef Jimmy Schmidt. Anyone from Detroit?)

1The Debutante dropped me a note 2 January 2010, "Yep, it's kosher for Pesach."

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