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2000s Recipes + Menus

Chocolate Ganache Cakes with White-Coffee Foam

  • Active time:45 min
  • Start to finish:1 3/4 hr
October 2000
The coffee foam attains its consistency with the help of a charged siphon. If you don't own one, don't worry—the coffee mixture can also be served, chilled but unfoamed, as a sauce.

For coffee foam

  • 1/2 cup green coffee beans
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 (13 1/2-oz) can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

For chocolate ganache cakes

  • 4 whole large eggs
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 lb Valrhona or Lindt bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
  • Special equipment:

    1-liter whipped-cream siphon and 2 gas (N2O) chargers

Make coffee foam:

  • Toast coffee beans with brown sugar in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring constantly to evenly toast beans, until sugar is melted and beans are color of almond skins, 12 to 15 minutes.
  • Add coconut milk and simmer (mixture will bubble up and steam, and sugar will harden), stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Pour through a sieve into a metal bowl and stir in cream.
  • Set metal bowl in a larger bowl of ice and cold water to chill, stirring occasionally.
  • Transfer sauce to siphon and screw on top tightly. Unscrew charge holder from head and put in a charger. Reattach charge holder and screw on tightly. Gas will be released into siphon (with a whooshing sound) within a few seconds. Chill filled siphon at least 1 hour to produce a stiffer foam. Remove and discard first charger. (As you unscrew charge holder, youll hear a brief hissing sound.) If fitting from holder comes out attached to charger, just remove charger and reattach fitting. Screw on second charger and chill at least 15 minutes (longer if a test of foam is not thick enough).

Make cakes:

  • Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  • Butter and flour 8 (4-oz) ramekins, knocking out excess flour, and put on a baking sheet.
  • Whisk together whole eggs, yolks, and sugar until combined well.
  • Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler or a metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring.
  • Remove top of double boiler or bowl from heat and whisk egg mixture into it. Sift flour evenly over chocolate mixture and fold in until just combined.
  • Divide among ramekins and bake in middle of oven until cakes begin to puff but centers are not set, 12 to 13 minutes.
  • Shake siphon well, about 1 minute. Turn upside down and press lever to fill a bowl with coffee foam.
  • Serve cakes in ramekins with coffee foam on the side.