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Celebrate chocolate with a delicious homemade cake

The dawn of a new year presents many opportunities to look to the future. Resolutions are made each January, and most focus on ways to stay healthy. However, not all resolutions need to be healthy. Every once in a while it’s okay to treat yourself, so a resolution to entertain more or explore new baking opportunities can perk things up in the coming year.

People who aspire to spend more time in the kitchen can celebrate winter baking and National Chocolate Cake Day (January 27) simultaneously. This recipe for “French Silk” from Classic Star Desserts (Chronicle Books) by Emily Luchetti is for chocolate lovers. This fudge shaped mousse cake combines many rich flavors and showcases the chocolate in this decadent cake.

French silk

Serves 12

Cortex

• 3⁄4 cup walnuts, toasted

• 1 cup pecans, toasted

• 1⁄2 cup of very compact brown sugar

4 ounces (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

Filling

• 11⁄4 pounds dark chocolate, chopped

• 6 ounces (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

• 3⁄4 cup granulated sugar

• 6 large eggs (use pasteurized eggs if you are worried about eating raw eggs)

• 1⁄4 cup heavy whipping cream

• 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Addition

• 1 cup heavy whipping cream

• 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar

To make the crust: In a food processor, combine the walnuts, pecans, brown sugar, and cinnamon and pulse until the nuts are coarsely chopped. Pour the nuts into a bowl, add the butter, and stir until the nuts are evenly moistened. Press nut mixture evenly into bottom of 9-inch round springform pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

To make the filling: Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie. While the chocolate is melting, combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and add the eggs in twos at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, increase speed to medium-high, and beat until well blended, about two minutes. The mixture will look curdled.

Remove the melted chocolate from the heat and stir until smooth and warm but not hot. With the mixer on low speed, add the chocolate to the egg mixture. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, then continue mixing on low speed until the chocolate is fully incorporated. Add cream and vanilla and mix until combined. Spread the filling over the crust. Refrigerate until firm, about three hours.

To make the cover: In a bowl, mix cream and sugar until soft peaks form. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Using a spatula, spread the topping over the top of the cake. Run a hot, dry knife around the inside edge of the pan to loosen the cake, then remove the sides of the pan and place the cake on a serving platter. Cut the cake with a hot, dry knife and serve cold.