Here is where we learn that flourless chocolate cake can mean many different things, depending on ratios and technique. Both this recipe and the preceding one from Rose Levy Beranbaum are known and loved as flourless chocolate cakes and use the same basic three ingredients (eggs, chocolate, and butter), with wildly different appearances and textures.
This one was a signature dessert of the late, beloved writer and cooking instructor Richard Sax. For the same amount of eggs as Beranbaum’s, he calls for half the chocolate and butter, and—instead of heating and whipping six whole eggs until billowy—he has you whip four of the whites with sugar to make a fluffy meringue, then gently fold them into the rest. Far from a dense and creamy torte, these three changes produce a poufy soufflé of a cake that intentionally caves in the center, leaving a craggy, wafer-like rim behind and a moussey hollow that you fill up with cold whipped cream. The effect is dramatic and bold, giving you, as Sax famously said, “intensity, then relief, in each bite.”