Today in the Kitchen – French Style Chocolate Cake – Gâteau au Chocolat

Jan 31, 2009 | Recipes | 17 comments

This is not my “usual” dark chocolate cake; the one Mom made for us when we were young, the one I now make for birthdays which is from Country Living over 20 years ago. This is from my tried and true cookbook, the cookbook that really “launched” my desire to learn to cook. Despite what my Mom taught me when I was young when I first got married I was not into my kitchen. We ate a lot of beans and burritos back then and I was big into “no dairy” “no wheat” “no sugar” – then I went to France and after all those cafes and all those cathedrals I decided the world has enough martyrs!

Sure, I could be thinner (who couldn’t?) but I am not afraid of food and I have not been for a long time. If anything I would like to teach woman to love their kitchen and NOT be afraid of food. I do, however get a little crazy when I have PMS and I begin to throw open the cupboard doors looking for ANYTHING that resembles chocolate. Last night at 8 p.m. I could not take it anymore. I needed to try something new and I NEEDED chocolate!!!
I know I’ve said before that I always try to tweak recipes with a change or two or three so I can call them “my own” but with this cake, whipped egg whites-n-all well, I did not dare mess with this recipe. I followed it step by step (paraphrased below) and it came out beautifully and took care of my craving straight away! 
Try it…it’s incredible; P.M.S. or not!!!
You will need:
1/4 cup superfine sugar, plus some for sprinkling
10 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (I used and suggest Valhrona 71%, and I confess I only had 7 ounces so I used some 70% stuff from Aldi for the remaining 3 ounces)
3/4 cup unsalted butter cut into pieces
2 tsp vanilla
5 eggs separated
1/4 cup flour, sifted
pinch of salt
Confectioners sugar for dusting and you will notice I added gold dust for a hint of the fancy!

Preheat the oven to 325, generously butter a 9 1/2 inch springform pan, then sprinkle the pan with a little sugar and tap out the excess
Set aside 3 tbsp of the sugar.  Place the chocolate, butter and remaining sugar in a saucepan ( I used a double boiler) and cook over low heat until its all melted and dissolved, remove from heat, stir in the vanilla and let mixture cool.
Aidan snuck out of bed so I put him to work!!!

Beat the egg yolks into the chocolate mixture and then stir in the flour (sifted!!!)  In a clean bowl using a mixture beat the egg whites slowly until they are frothy, increase the speed, add the salt and continue to beat until soft peaks form.  Sprinkle in the reserved 3 tbsp of sugar and beat until the whites are beautiful and glossy!  Beat 1/3 of the whites into the chocolate and fold in the rest.
Pour the mixture into the pan and tap to release any air bubbles.
Bake the cake for 35-45 minutes (35 was plenty) until well risen and the top springs back when touched with your finger.  Rotate after 25 minutes if it starts to rise unevenly (mine did).
Transfer to a wire rack (I don’t have one) remove the side of the pan and allow to cool completely (I could not, of course wait this long!)  Remove the pan base and dust with the confectioners sugar.
Bon Appetit!


  1. cityfarmer

    okay, I guess it’s a kitchen day….well in this kitchen who wouldn’t want to spend the day.

    Save me a piece!!! looks yummy

  2. Debbie in CA : )

    I love food (clarified; GOOD food — REAl food), I love to cook, I love chocolate, I will make this for dessert tonight.

    Wow, isn’t life simple?

    Now I can relax and read all day long without a shred of guilt.

    Dinner? you ask . . . I’ll find something fabulous around here, I’m not concerned — with this dessert at the ready EVERYONE will clean their plate. (Oh, did I mention I never have/had to MAKE my kids eat their dinner — well almost never — because I cook real food and it tastes so good?)

    I love your witty style and fabulous food ideas! : D

  3. Farmgirl Cyn

    I have heard it said that you can tinker with just about anything EXCEPT baking. I know, I know, there are all kinds of substitutions out there…applesauce for oil, yogurt for heavy cream….but I prefer to leave well enough alone. If I am going to have dessert, I want it to be as decadent as possible…then just have a small portion. Right??

  4. Cathy

    Yummy! I love a good chocolate cake.

    Your kitchen looks so warm and inviting…beautiful spot to prepare food for your family.


  5. Stephanie H.

    This looks really good. I agree with you about eating real food. Thanks for sharing all of these recipes.

  6. Victoria

    Great recipe- can be modified SO easily to be gluten free, too. Just make it rice flour for that 1/4 of a cup.

    And, do you love your haircut? I do.

  7. Faith

    You look so beautiful in that picture!!! Miss you!!!

  8. martha

    The cake looks delish, but what I REALLY crave is your kitchen. I would love to know how to paint my cabinets like that. (Maybe I could take my unemployed hands and learn.) I’m also looking forward to hearing some answered prayer about your husband’s job. I’m one of those praying stalkers. Be encouraged.

  9. Parisienne Farmgirl

    Martha, I’d be happy to share how I did my cabs (they earned us a newpaper article and everything a few years ago!!!) I also painted the tiles to match some dishtowels from Anthropology…I may need to do a blog about my kitchen soon. Leave your email and I’ll send one on how to do the cabs – good winter project. PS: There is a blog coming about the job – prayer stalkers appreciated!!!!!!!!!!

  10. SK and Family

    That cake looks divine!! I, too, like your kitchen–the lemon topiaries are perfect against the tile! 🙂

  11. Stephanie H.

    OK, I’m dying to try this but i’m having a really hard time finding super fine sugar. A lot of stores do not carry it. Can I use regular sugar? Or I wonder if I can just put sugar in my food processor for a minute to make it more finely milled? Hmmm.

  12. Parisienne Farmgirl

    Yes, you can put it in your processor – I just did that today to make lemon curd – it worked great. (Post coming)

  13. Debbie in CA : )

    Served this tonight . . . I’m a star in the eyes of my family. IT WAS FABULOUS!!!! Thanks for sharing. : D

  14. Parisienne Farmgirl

    Debbie I am sOOOOO happy! We polished ours of in days – probably will be a regular around here.

  15. Stephanie H.

    I just made the cake and it came out perfect! Putting my regular sugar in the food processor worked too to make superfine sugar. We are having it tonight for dessert.

    I must thank you for sharing this. I never thought I could make something like this but it was easy with your instructions. I have been wanting to learn how to cook better and try new things. I always cook the same old things and I’m ready to try more complicated things now.

    Thanks again!


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