French food has a reputation as being fussy, fancy, and complicated to prepare. While the elaborate sauces served at restaurants like Le Bernardin are great examples of French cuisine, they’re not representative of the type of cooking done at home in French families on weeknights. French cooks, just like American ones, have recipes they whip off without thinking, even dessert recipes.
When my husband’s cousin asked me for a French cake recipe that’s easy enough for someone who never cooks to prepare, I knew exactly what to send her. This recipe for Fondant au Chocolat comes together in five minutes and has six ingredients, but the moist and intensely chocolate cake is definitely worthy of being served at the fanciest French restaurant.
The recipe came from my 18-year old niece who stayed with us for a month this summer from France. She knew the recipe by heart and could whip it off without interrupting her texts to her boyfriend back in France. In her honor, in our house, this cake will forever be known as Ophelie Cake. You’ll know it as Chocolate Fondant cake, or Fondant au Chocolat: fondant means to melt, as every chocolate bite will do in your mouth.
Ophelie made the cake with bittersweet chocolate, but my kids prefer it with semi-sweet. I would choose your chocolate depending on your guests. It’s nice that such an easy recipe can be made more intense for adults but still is a huge hit with kids.
Just a Simple Little French Cake - Seven ingredients and thrown together in 5 minutes. But it tastes as good as the fanciest French restaurant dessert.
- 150 grams of butter (11 Tablespoons)
- 150 grams of sugar (3/4 cups)
- 50 grams of flour (1/2 cup)
- 3 large eggs
- 200 grams of semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate (she made it with bittersweet but my kids prefer semi-sweet) (this is about 2 bars)
- 2 Tsps of vanilla extract
- 1 pinch of salt
- Preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Bring butter to room temperature so it is soft. Cut it into inch wide pieces. Cream together the butter and the sugar.
- Add the vanilla and the eggs, one at time, scraping the batter from the beater to mix well.
- Add the flour and salt and beat until just blended. The batter will be a bit lumpy and very runny.
- Melt the chocolate in the microwave.
- Fold the melted chocolate into the batter with a spatula. The batter will now come together nicely.
- Butter an 8x11 cake pan. Spoon in the batter and spread it out evenly. You can spread it very thin, 1/2 inch wide, and it will rise nicely.
- Bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 to 30 minutes, until a knife inserted comes out clean.
- You can serve this hot or cold - it's delicious both ways. Add ice cream or whipped cream and you'll be in heaven.