For espresso sauce: 1-1/2 cups half & half 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 6 egg yolks 2/3 cup sugar 1 cup whole espresso coffee beans
For cake: 1 stick unsalted butter, softened 3/4 cup sugar 7 large eggs, separated 8 ounces gf semisweet chocolate, chopped Pinch of salt 1 cup whipping cream 1 Tablespoon sugar GF chocolate covered espresso beans for garnish Cocoa for garnish
For espresso sauce: In a medium saucepan, heat the half & half and vanilla over medium heat. Just before the mixture comes to a simmer, remove from heat and cover. Place the egg yolks in a medium saucepan and whisk until thick and lemon-colored. Gradually, beat in sugar and then blend in about 1/4th of the hot half & half by drops, then blend in the rest of the half & half. Add the espresso beans and set the pan over low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Be careful not to let the mixture simmer or the egg yolks may lump. Strain through a sieve and let cool.
For cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Set a rack in the center of oven. Butter a 9" springform pan and line bottom with parchment or wax paper. Place chocolate in the top of a double boiler over simmering water. Stir with a rubber spatula until melted. Remove from heat and let cool. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar together until light, about 4 minutes. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in chocolate. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites with salt until soft peaks form. Stir about 1/3 of egg whites into batter and then gently fold in balance. Pour batter into pan and bake for 40 minutes until center is firm and bounces back when lightly pressed. Let cake cool in pan for 5 minutes then loosen th pan and slide it onto a rack to cool completely. When cool, slide cake from rack to a plate.
Whip cream and sugar until soft peaks form. Spread whipped cream on top of cake just prior to serving. To serve: Decorate cake top with chocolate covered espresso beans. Place a couple of spoonfuls of espresso sauce in the middle of serving plates and top with a small slice of cake. Place a small amount of cocoa in a sifter and sift over cake. Serve.