Taking the Cake: Chocolate Decadence


“Chocolate Decadence” is probably not an unfamiliar term, but what exactly is it? While the term has expanded in recent years and can be applied to any number of chocolate desserts ranging from a flourless chocolate cake to floured but dense chocolate cakes with fudgy icing to even chilled chocolate desserts, the “original” chocolate decadence was dreamed up at a restaurant called Narsai's by pastry chef Janice Feuer.

The recipe appears in her book Sweets for Saints and Sinners , though it has been more widely published, adopted, and adapted. The original contains a whipped cream frosting and a raspberry puree, both of which may or may not be present in succeeding recipes. I tried the recipe with the whipped cream but no puree.

In my opinion, the whipped cream was dropped for a reason. A little goes a long way, and a dollop is actually far nicer than an all-over coating, which seems to distract a bit from the rich chocolatiness of the dessert, which, when you get down to it, is the beating heart of what makes it tick.

And while my non-expert baking may have resulted in a slightly less delicate dessert, it was still quite very tasty. It is the type of dessert which will make your guests very happy at the end of a dinner, that your mother will probably say “only a small sliver for me!” and then will sneak bites of everyone else's . It's going to leave everyone happy.

Although I did not include the raspberry, I am leaving the recipe as originally intended below so you can choose your own adventure.


Chocolate Decadence


  • 1 pound chocolate
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon flour, all-purpose
  • 1 package raspberries
  • 1/4 pound butter
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream


  1. Flour and butter an 8-inch round cake pan. Cut a round of waxed paper to fit the bottom, butter it, and place in the pan. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. In a small saucepan over very low heat or in a microwave oven , melt the chocolate with the butter. Set aside.
  3. In the top of a double boiler over very hot water, whisk the eggs with the sugar. Beat over hot water until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is just lukewarm. Remove the top of the double boiler from the heat and beat the eggs until they quadruple in volume and become quite thick. Fold the flour into the eggs.
  4. Stir 1/4 of the egg mixture into the chocolate. Then, fold the chocolate back into the rest of the egg mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes; the cake will be liquid in the center. Cover and freeze the cake in the pan overnight. To unmold the cake, carefully dip the bottom of the pan in hot water and invert onto a cake plate.
  6. Remove the pan and gently peel off the waxed paper. Decorate the cake with the whipped cream and shaved chocolate. Refrigerate until serving. Puree the raspberries and their juice in a blender or food processor. Pass the puree through a fine sieve and serve a tablespoon of the sauce with each portion.