This cake looks elegant and impressive, but is actually pretty easy.  A bit time consuming, but not all that difficult.

Yield: 1 cake, 12 servings


  • Cake
    • 4 eggs
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 1 tbsp vanilla
    • 2 tbsp dark rum
    • 1/4 cup milk
    • 3/4 cup brown butter
      • This is literally just butter that's been cooking in a pot on the stove for a couple minutes and has started to turn brown.  Depending on the heat level, this could take 5-10 minutes.  Just be careful not to burn it.
    • 1/2 cup flour
  • Ganache
    • 2 3/4 cups (~18 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips
      • Dark chocolate would also work.  I would recommend not using milk chocolate.
    • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
    • 1/2 envelope (1 1/4 tsp) gelatin
    • 1 tbsp dark rum
    • 1/2 cup warm water


  1. Put the 4 eggs into the mixing bowl and add the sugar, vanilla, rum, and milk.  Whisk to combine.
  2. Place the bowl over a pot of boiling water and continue whisking while cooking for 5-7 minutes until it reaches 120°F.  Transfer to a stand mixer bowl.
    • Be certain that the mixing bowl does not touch the boiling water in the pot.
  3. Whip in the stand mixer until it becomes fluffy and triples in volume, about 10 minutes.  Approximately halfway through the mixing process, slow down and stream in the brown butter.
  4. Remove from the stand mixer.  Sift in the flour and slowly whisk by hand to combine.
  5. Grease the sides & bottom of a 9-inch cake pan.  Place a round of parchment paper.  Place in a second cake pan to get double thickness.
  6. Add 1/2 cup of batter.  Tilt to spread it evenly across the bottom, edge-to-edge.
  7. Position the oven rack at the top-most level.  Broil at 500°F for 80 seconds, until the top is nicely browned.
  8. Add another 1/2 cup of batter and spread across the bottom.  Broil for another 90 seconds.
    • The layers are fragile, so be careful as you cover with each successive layer of batter.
  9. Continue repeating batter & broiling until all batter has been used.  All told, you should get 7-8 layers.
  10. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  11. For the ganache, warm the cream until it just barely begins to simmer.
  12. Place the chocolate in a bowl and pour the hot cream over the chocolate.  Let sit for 45 seconds, and then begin mixing.  The cream will melt the chocolate, forming a thick liquid sauce.
  13. In a small bowl, place the gelatin, rum, and warm water.  Mix together until smooth.
  14. Add the gelatin mixture to the ganache and whisk together.
  15. With the cake on a wire rack, pour the ganache over the top and spread to the sides, being certain to fully cover the top and sides.  The excess chocolate will spill off the sides onto the counter.  Give it a tap to smooth out any ripples.
  16. Let stand until the chocolate is set.  You can speed this by using a refrigerator for 30-60 minutes.
  17. Slice and serve!
Adapted from Bryon Talbott.