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      RECIPE TITLE "Suzy's Cake"
    recipe excerpted from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herme - Copyright © 2001 by SOCREPA and Dorie Greenspan

    yieldsmakes 1 cake time--- difficulty moderate

    Pierre and Frédrick Hermé's friend Suzy Palatin is a runway model, a cookbook author, and the inventor of this luxuriously soft rich cake, the kind that in America might be given a name like Chocolate Decadence. The cake is spectacularly good and very easy to make. Indeed, the ingredients are so rudimentary (they're the baker's basics), and the method so simple (it's a cream-the-butter-and sugar-together cake), that you have to wonder how it can be so good. Odds are it's the half pound or so of highest-quality chocolate (don't skimp on the quality) and the just-right baking -- the center remains ever so slightly wet.

    "At home, my wife, Fré and I serve this cake with ginger ice cream, lightly sweetened shipped cream of Vanilla Crème Anglaise. Sometimes we make the cake with raspberries, putting a thin layer of batter over the bottom of the pan, tossing over fresh raspberries, then covering the berries with batter." --Pierre Hermé

      RECIPE INGREDIENTS

    8-3/4 ounces (250 grams) bittersweet chocolate, preferably Valrhona Guanaja, finely chopped
    1-1/4 sticks (9 ounces; 250 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    l cup (200 grams) sugar
    4 large eggs, at room temperature
    1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (70 grams) all-purpose flour

      RECIPE METHOD

    Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C). Butter a 9-inch (24-cm) round cake pan that is at least 2 inches (5 cm) high, line the bottom with parchment paper, butter the paper, and dust the inside of the pan with flour; tap out the excess and set the pan aside.
    Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over -- not touching -- simmering water and heat until the chocolate is melted; or melt the chocolate in a microwave oven. Set the chocolate aside to cool; it should feel only just warm to the touch when you mix it with the rest of the ingredients.
    Put the butter and sugar in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for about 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl frequently, until the butter is creamy and the sugar well blended into it. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for about 1 minute after each addition. Reduce the mixer speed to low, pour in the cooled chocolate, and mix until it is just incorporated. With the mixer still on low, add the flour and mix only until it disappears into the batter. Alternatively, you can fold in the last of the flour with a rubber spatula. You'll have a thick, smooth, satiny batter that looks like old-fashioned chocolate frosting.
    Scrape the batter into the pan, smooth the top, and slide the pan into the oven. Bake for 26 to 29 minutes, or until the cake rises slightly or until the top has lost its sheen. The top may crack a bit and the cake may not look entirely set in the center; when you test the cake by inserting a slender into the center, the knife will come out lightly streaked with batter, which is what you want. Transfer the cake to a rack to cool.
    When the cake has cooled, chill it in the refrigerator for an hour or two to make it easy to unmold. Turn the cake out, remove the parchment, and invert the cake on to a serving platter so that it is right side up. Allow the cake to come to room temperature before slicing and serving.


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