Adapted from Chocolate and the Art of Low-Fat Desserts (Warner Books 1994) by Alice Medrich.
If you don't tell, know one will know that this rustic-looking and very chocolaty cake is relatively low in fat and calories. Fine artisan chocolate and cocoa really make a difference to the complex flavor and perception of richness in this gem of a recipe. Serve the cake plain or dress up the servings with a dab of whipped cream and a scatter of berries. Watch Alice Make This Cake.
Position a rack in the bottom third of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
In a food processor or blender, pulverize almonds with flour until very fine. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine chopped chocolate, cocoa, and 3/4 cup of the sugar. Add the boiling water. Whisk until chocolate is completely melted. Whisk in yolks and brandy. Set aside.
In a clean dry electric mixer bowl, beat the egg whites with cream of tartar on medium speed until soft peaks form when the beaters are lifted. Gradually sprinkle in remaining sugar and beat on high speed until the eggs whites are stiff but not dry. Whisk the flour and almonds into chocolate mixture. Fold about one quarter of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Fold in the remaining egg whites. Scrape batter into prepared pan; level the top if necessary.
Bake 20-25 minutes or until toothpick plunged into the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Cool in the pan, on a rack. The cake will sink in the center.
Slide a small knife around the inside of the pan to detach the cake. Remove the sides of the pan and transfer the cake to a serving platter. (Cake may be completed to this point, covered and stored at room temperature for one day before serving, or wrapped airtight and frozen for up to two months).
To serve, sieve a little powdered sugar over the top. Serve at room temperature with berries and cream if you like.
NUTRITIONAL DATA PER SERVING (exclusive of cream and berries): 179 calories; 6.4 grams fat; 29% calories from fat; 4.2 grams protein; 30.2 grams carbohydrates; 42.4 Mg cholesterol.