Italian Chocolate Almond Cake (from Cook’s Illustrated)
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, but into 12 pieces
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 large eggs, separated
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
2 cups almond flour
2 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
½ teaspoon salt
Confectioner’s sugar (optional)
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat over to 325 degrees.
Lightly spray 9-inch springform pan with vegetable oil spray.
Microwave butter and chocolate in medium bowl at 50 percent power, stirring often, until melted, 1 ½ to 2 minutes. Stir in vanilla and set aside.
Using stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip egg whites on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium-high and continue to whip, slowly adding ½ cup granulated sugar, until whites are glossy and thick and hold stiff peaks, about 4 minutes longer. Transfer whites to large bowl.
Add egg yolks and remaining ½ cup granulated sugar to now empty mixer bowl and whip on medium-high speed until thick and pale yellow, about 3 minutes, scraping down bowl as necessary. Add chocolate mixture and mix on medium speed until incorporated, about 15 seconds. Add almond flour, cocoa, and salt and mix until incorporated, about 30 seconds.
Remove bowl from mixer and stiff few times with large rubber spatula, scraping bottom of bowl to ensure almond flour is fully incorporated. Add one-third of whipped whites to bowl, return bowl to mixer, and mix on medium speed until no streaks of white remain, about 30 seconds, scraping down bowl halfway through mixing. Transfer batter to bowl with remaining whites. Using large rubber spatula, gently fold whites into batter until no streaks of white remain. Pour batter into prepared pan, smooth top with spatula, and place pan on rimmed baking sheet.
Bake until toothpick inserted incenter comes out with few moist crumbs attached, about 50 minutes, rotating, comes pan halfway through baking. Let cake cook in pan on wired rack for 20 minutes. Remove side of pan and let cake cool completely, about 2 hours. (Cake can be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.)
Dust top of cake with confectioner’s sugar, if using. Using offset spatula, transfer cake to serving platter. Cut into wedges and serve.