Mind your French – Le fondant au chocolat

[The ultimate chocolate fondant]

In London, we’ve had winter in July. Air damp with rain. Kitchens warm with soup on the stove. Oven smelling like chocolate cake.

And now, in the south of France, we’re having summer in September. Walks through the markets. Sirops d’orgeat at the terrace of the village café. Afternoons at the beach. Ice-cream, in a cone, please. Flip-flops at the feet. Deep-fried is a must, especially when it involves fleurs de courgettes. Watermelon; full-stop.

It seems that whenever I come down here it’s summer. A summer of the out-of-season kind.







It also seems that whenever I’m down here, I always return to the same cake. A cake of the homecoming kind.

It certainly is my go-to. Because, let’s be honest, we all need one.

One we make on Mondays. One we slice when still warm and slightly runny for a late afternoon indulgence. One we have for breakfast – the day after – cold from the fridge and dipped into the latte we overlooked as we were flipping through the pages of the newspaper. One we finish on Wednesdays after a dinner made of crusty baguette with a side of sliced tomatoes in their juices; perhaps with a scoop of yoghurt ice-cream.

This cake is dark and dense. The very definition of a fondant.

And since we’re at it, I shall let you know that what we – French – call fondant is somehow different to the fondants I’ve been known to bake à la minute for the restaurant.
In fact, if you’re thinking about small little cakes with a melted chocolate centre, we call them coulants in good old France.

So please, mind your French, will you ;)

Fondant au chocolat
Adapted from Pascal Lac.

I’ve told you about this cake before. It is, as I’ve mentioned above, a keeper. If you’re after a moist chocolate cake, then this is the one.

Plus, it’s damn easy to make. Just chocolate, butter, eggs, sugar, and flour.
Oh yes, ok, eight eggs and 400g of sugar. Just forget about this and bake it in a 28cm pan for thinner wedges.

It is worth it!

When it comes to the chocolate I like to use a slightly bitter, most possibly 70%. And I have to admit Guanaja is especially great for cakes of all kinds.

The only tricky – and when I say tricky, I mean very merely – step is to bring the eggs and sugar mixture to room temperature-ish over the heat.
You can either do it straight over the gas, making sure to mix at all time while turning the bowl to ensure heat distribution. Or do it over a water-bath (which should not stop you from mixing and turning the bowl!).

This step is done, as we say in French, to casser le froid [break the coldness]. And it will incorporate a little air in the eggs.

Fondant au chocolat

for one 24 to 28cm springform pan

200g dark chocolate
240g butter
8 eggs

400g sugar
130g flour

Preheat the oven to 170°C, and generously butter a springform pan.

In a bowl, melt the chocolate and butter.

In a heatproof bowl, mix the eggs and sugar – using a whisk – and place over medium heat (or as said above, on a water bath). Keep on mixing until not cold anymore. It shouldn’t be hot either.
Pour the chocolate over the egg mixture, and homogenise. Sprinkle the flour over and using a rubber spatula, gently incoporate it until just smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 to 40 minutes (if you’re using a smaller pan) until just set.

18 thoughts on “Mind your French – Le fondant au chocolat

  • miuccia September 27, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    This is such a coincidence! yesterday I thought about your fondant au chocolat and I said myself I should bake it again because it is really worthed. is this what they call telepathy? maybe it’s just magic. bye fanny thanks for sharing your last bits of summer

  • Joy September 27, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    Great recipe! I love the photos too :)

  • Lucia September 28, 2011 at 10:24 am

    Here in Italy we’re having a late summer September too. Afternoons are warm, skies are bright and clean. But my body asks me for some autumn, for some cakes and pies. For some chocolate cake. A fondant? Even better. Eaten in my bed, in the morning, while a soft breeze blows outside

    Love your words Lucia. It reads like poetry :) xx

  • Y September 28, 2011 at 11:06 am

    What a beautiful cake! I haven’t made one that looks as intense and chocolatey as that, in ages. Can’t wait to try it, since it’s gotten your stamp of approval.

    Certainly not the lightest, but a favourite in my house.

  • A. September 29, 2011 at 11:37 am

    I made it for the first time a couple of years ago, when you wrote about it on foodbeam. It’s been my go-to ever since.

    So thank you ;)

    You’re welcome. It’s too good not to be shared…

  • Delphine September 29, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    Ce gâteau au chocolat est un régal !! J’aime beaucoup le nouveau design du blog, c’est trop mimi :)
    Bises, passe un bon après-midi !
    Delphine

    Merci Delphine. Contente que tu aimes bien :)

  • sofichu September 29, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    http://www.saveur.com/article/kitchen/saveurs-favorite-global-food-blogs?cmpid=tw tu es dedans ;)

    Merci Sophie pour l’info. Et AAAAAAH TROP BIEN! xx

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  • Grapefruit October 4, 2011 at 7:31 am

    Finally! I found an authentic recipe for fondant au chocolat! I loved it when I had it in trips to Paris but have never been able to find a recipe to recreate it in my own kitchen. Most recipes are actually recipes for molten cakes.
    Thank you for sharing! I will be making this soon and blogging about it at some point.

  • cathy October 5, 2011 at 3:35 am

    i remember this cake. especially since it wipes out 8 eggs from the fridge in one go.

    but completely worth it.

  • Marion October 17, 2011 at 11:41 am

    Ta nouvelle mise en plage est superbe. Et ce fondant a l’air divin, je vais l’essayer bientôt :)

  • Hannah at Bake five November 1, 2011 at 10:19 am

    This looks just like a cake I’d devour in seconds. Very delicious looking!

  • Raquel November 8, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    I didn’t even have a proper pan, but I made it. And it’s absolutely perfect! Better than it looks (http://instagr.am/p/TSzL7/). Don’t want to think about the calories on this thing, but what can I say, it’s definitely a keeper, thanks!

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  • grand mère January 11, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    Ama petite FANNY G M ne mesure rien et je fait un gateau au chocolat presque tous les semaine la seule chose ou BRIAN est de bonne humeur et ou on ne se dispute pas cela devient grave tous les deux SNDRI VA BIEN je mets de lafarine de mais je ne sais pas faire le trema GROS BIZZZOU G M DE FOURAS

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  • Alyssa May 13, 2012 at 12:47 am

    Looks delicious! Luckily, I have dark chocolate to spare. When you’re working the eggs and the sugar, should you aim to dissolve the sugar into the eggs? I know when I made meringues in school, we were instructed to do a water bath method with a whisk to dissolve the gritty grains of sugar and make everything homogenous.

    Hi Alyssa, here you don’t aim to dissolve the sugar, just warm up the eggs to slightly more than room temperature.

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