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Lora Brody's Bête Noire

in quick and easy whole grain dairy free gluten free overnight guaranteed classic


Literally translated as "the black beast", this decadent flourless cake is dark, rich and moist, a fitting — and filling — end to many special gatherings. Created by Lora Brody, a long time King Arthur fan and friend, the cake is a Passover favorite at her home, but we'll gladly suffer the "beast" anytime of year.

At a glance

one 9" cake


Choose your measure:


  • 1 1/3 cups Baker's Special sugar or superfine sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/3 cups unsweetened chocolate, broken in small pieces
  • 2/3 cup bittersweet chocolate, broken in small pieces
  • 1 cup (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 10 chunks
  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature


  • 2 cups white chocolate, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup bourbon, or to taste (See "tips", below.)


  1. To make the cake: Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  2. Lightly grease a 9" round cake pan and line the bottom with a 9" circle of parchment or waxed paper. Lightly grease the parchment or paper. Set the pan in a larger pan with sides at least 2" high (a roasting pan works well).
  3. In a medium-sized saucepan, bring 1 cup (7 ounces, 198g) of the sugar and the water to a boil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally.
  4. Turn off the heat and immediately add both chocolates to the boiling syrup, stirring until they're completely dissolved.
  5. Stir in the butter, one chunk at a time, stirring until each chunk is incorporated before adding the next. Set the mixture aside to cool to room temperature.
  6. Beat the eggs together with the remaining sugar until they're foamy and slightly thickened, then whisk them into the chocolate, beating well to incorporate all the ingredients.
  7. Pour and scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and level the batter with a rubber scraper.
  8. Place the cake pan and roasting pan in the oven and pour hot water to a depth of about 1" into the larger pan.
  9. Bake the cake for exactly 30 minutes; the inside will still be very moist. Carefully remove the cake pan from the oven (leave the water-filled roasting pan in the oven until it cools).
  10. Cover the top of the cake with a piece of plastic wrap, and invert it onto a flat plate or cookie sheet.
  11. Peel off the parchment or waxed paper. Cover the cake with a light, flat serving plate, and immediately invert it again, so it's right-side-up.
  12. To make the topping: Place the pieces of white chocolate in the work bowl of a food processor or blender.
  13. Heat the cream in a small saucepan or the microwave to just below boiling, pour it over the chocolate, and process or blend until completely smooth, adding the bourbon (to taste) or the vanilla or cream at the end.
  14. Serve the cake hot or at room temperature with the topping
  15. Well-wrapped, the cake and topping will keep for 5 days in the fridge, or the cake can be frozen for up to 3 months.