When I started baking for people outside my immediately family, I was shocked at how many people prefer chocolate to vanilla! I'd say 80% of my cake requests are for chocolate. Either I live in a chocolate bubble, or vanilla isn't as common as I thought!
Since I've had so much practice at chocolate cake making, I've discovered the one secret to an amazing chocolate cake...Use expensive chocolate! It tastes like the difference between a great bottle of wine and a wine cooler (do they even still make those???) I use Callebaut and I get an 11 pound brick from Amazon. Holy moly is it huge and heavy, but the amount of chocolate I go through in a couple months makes it totally worth it!
This recipe is from Ina Garten's "Make It Ahead" cookbook and if you are familiar with Ina, you know everything she makes is amazing. It is a very dense and decadent torte that is almost like a rich brownie consistency. It is gluten-free as written, but if you don't care about gluten - you can substitute the gluten-free flour for regular all-purpose flour and it will taste exactly the same. Because it's so rich, it's wonderful paired with raspberry sauce or vanilla ice cream (or just a nice glass of red wine!)
1 pound, 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate such as Callebaut or Lindt broken into small pieces
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon gluten-free flour (can use all-purpose if you don't want a gluten-free torte)
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon instant coffee
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
4 eggs, at room temperature, separated
1/4 cup heavy cream
Take a medium saucepan and fill it 2-3" with water and place on the stove. Place a clean and dry, heatproof (glass works well) bowl over the water to make a bain marie. Add 1 pound of the chocolate to the bowl and bring the water beneath up to a simmer. Stir the chocolate occasionally until melted. While chocolate is melting, preheat your oven to 425 degrees and grease an 8" springform pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper if you have it (if not, grease well.)
When chocolate is melted, remove from heat and stir in the butter and the rest of the dry ingredients.
Separate the eggs and add the whites to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or you can use a hand mixer if you don't have a Kitchenaid.) Add the yolks to the chocolate mixture and whisk by hand until smooth.
Beat the whites until they form soft peaks (soft peaks are when you turn your whisk upside down, the peaks are just starting to hold. They're soft and melt back into themselves after a second.) Fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture with a rubber spatula (gently - don't over mix!) Scrape the mixture into the greased pan.
Bake the torte for 15 minutes exactly. This is a temperamental cake so don't leave it in the oven a minute passed 15 minutes and make sure your oven temperature is accurate. After 15 minutes, turn the oven off and open the door slightly and leave the cake in the oven for 60 minutes.
After 60 minutes, remove the cake and release it from the springform pan. Make a ganache by placing the 3 ounces of chocolate and the heavy cream in a heatproof bowl and place it over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir occasionally until the chocolate melts then remove from heat. Pour the ganache over the cake (it will have sunk a bit making a perfect bowl for the melted chocolate). To keep things mess-free, keep the melted chocolate away from the edges of the cake.
Let cool, then serve warm or at room temperature with raspberry sauce or vanilla ice cream.