Chocolate Oblivion

from FOOD 52 Genius baking book

from FOOD 52 Genius baking book

Serves: 6 to 8
Oven Temperature: 425˚F/220˚C
Baking Time: Bake 7 minutes pan uncovered, then 10 to 13 covered
(add 3 to 5 minute, if using a silicone pan instead of wrapping with heavy duty aluminum foil)

The Chocolate Oblivion from “The Cake Bible” became my family and friends most requested cake recipe. When I met Rose for the first time, when she came to Minneapolis, this is the cake I brought for her to taste. The Oblivion has the texture somewhere between a baked chocolate mousse and a truffle. We make this 6 inch version to serve along with another dessert.

Plan Ahead  Make the Chocolate Oblivion least 8 hours ahead before serving.

 Special Equipment One 6 by 2-3/4 inch or higher springform pan, bottom and the sides lightly coated with butter, bottom topped with a parchment round, wrapped with a double layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil OR set in a slightly larger silicone pan to prevent seepage; One 12 by 2 inch round cake pan or a roasting pan to serve as a water bath; One 10 by 2 inch round cake pan or 10 to 11 inch in diameter pot cover to cover the springform pan during baking

Preheat the Oven
Thirty minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven.* Preheat the oven to 425°F/220°C.

 Mis en Place
* About 1 hour ahead, set the butter and eggs on the counter at room temperature (65˚ to 75˚F/19˚ to 23˚C).
* Chop the chocolate coarsely and place the butter and chocolate in a medium size metal bowl that can be set over a pot to serve as a ‘double boiler’. (Choose a pot that a stand mixer’s bowl can also set on top of it for step 3).Alternatively, if your oven has a pilot light, set the metal bowl on an oven rack and allow for 12 hours or overnight for the chocolate and butter to melt.
* If using, spoon the cream of tartar onto the center of the waterbath pan.

Melt the Chocolate and Butter
1) Set the bowl over the pot of hot, not simmering, water (do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water), stirring the chocolate and butter occasionally, until smooth and melted.
2) Transfer the mixture to a large bowl, and stir in the optional vanilla, if using.  

Whip the Eggs
3) Heat the water in the pot until it is simmering.
4) In the bowl of a stand mixer, with a long-handled whisk, lightly whisk the eggs. Set the bowl over the pot of simmering water and heat, just until lukewarm to the touch, stirring constantly with the whisk to prevent curdling.
5) Immediately transfer the bowl to the stand mixer and attach the whisk beater.
6) Beat on high speed for about 5 minutes, until the eggs triple in volume and the egg foam is billowy and almost ready to form soft peaks when the beater is raised. (If using a handheld mixer, beat the eggs over simmering water until they are hot. Then remove them from the heat and beat for a minimum of 5 minutes.)

7) Add 6 to 8 cups of water to the pot and heat the water to very hot to the touch.

Complete the Batter
8) Using a large balloon whisk, slotted skimmer, or silicone spatula, fold one-third the egg foam into the chocolate mixture until almost evenly incorporated. Fold in the remaining egg foam in two parts until almost no streaks remain.
9) Use a silicone spatula to finish folding, scraping up the mixture from the bottom to ensure that all of the heavier chocolate mixture is evenly incorporated.
10) Scrape the batter into the springform pan and smooth the surface with an offset spatula.

Bake the Chocolate Oblivion
11) Fill the waterbath to a depth of 1 inch with the heated water. If using, whisk the cream of tartar until it is completely dissolved.
12) Set the prepared springform pan into the larger pan. Add more water, if necessary, until the water reaches half way up the sides of the pan.

13) Bake for 5 minutes (7 minutes if using the silicone pan).

14) Set the 8 inch cake pan on top of the springform pan and continue baking for another 8 to 11 minutes (9 to 14 minutes if using the silicone pan). The Chocolate Oblivion will appear set but will wobble slightly if the pan is moved. (An instant-read thermometer should read 170ºF/75°C.)


Chill the Chocolate Oblivion

15) Remove the pan from the water bath and set it on a wire rack to cool to room temperature or just until warm, about 2 hours.

16) Remove the aluminum foil or silicone liner.

17) To absorb condensation, place a paper towel, curved side upwards, over the pan with the ends overhanging. Place an inverted plate, larger than the springform pan, on top of the paper towel.

18) Refrigerate the Oblivion for 8 hours to overnight.


To Serve

19) Remove the plate and paper towel. Blot off any moisture from the top of the Oblivion.

20) Run an offset spatula between the sides of the pan and the Oblivion. Remove the sides of the springform pan.

21) Cover the top of the Oblivion with plastic wrap and then with a 9 inch round pan or round wire rack.

22) Invert the Oblivion. Remove the parchment paper.

23) Heat an off-set spatula with hot water and wipe it off. Smooth the sides of the Oblivion.

24) Set a flat serving plate or cutting board on top of the Oblivion and re-invert. The Oblivion’s texture and taste is best at cool room temperature.

Store Airtight: refrigerated, 5 days. Do not freeze as the texture will become less smooth.




* Our favorite springform pan is Wiltons’ Avanti glass bottom pan, which can serve as a serving plate and allow for cutting the cake to its bottom with dental floss or knife. 

* Since the recipe is dependent on using a high quality chocolate, we recommend these brands: Valhrona, Guittard, and Lindt.

* Using a chocolate that is higher than 62% can cause the Oblivion to be streaky from the butter separating during baking.

* The mixture can look slightly curdled during and after mixing, but the Oblivion will bake to a uniform consistency.

* Some water may seep in between the foil, if using it, and the springform pan. If the water is clear, none is likely to have been absorbed by the Oblivion.

* We recommend using an 18 inch long piece of dental floss for cutting the Oblivion. Wrap each end of the dental floss around each index finger, and hold the dental floss taunt and centered over the Oblivion. Slice through the Oblivion with a sawing action to the bottom. Pull the dental floss out of one side. Repeat the process for cutting the slices to be served. (Alternatively, cut the Oblivion slices with a heated knife.)


Variation in a 9 inch springform

Use a 12 x 2 inch pan for the waterbath and a 10 inch cake pan or aluminum fol to cover during the second baking time.


Baking Time: Bake 7 minutes pan uncovered, then 10 to 13 covered

(add 3 to 5 minute, if using a silicone pan instead of wrapping with heavy duty aluminum foil)