You want something rich and decadent for the holiday season. Something chocolate. Something that will impress. Something that really says celebration.

But you don't want to spend hours making it. The answer? A flourless chocolate cake. It's like a baked truffle - simple, yet sensational enough to impress your guests. All you have to do is dress it up with whipped cream and fresh berries. Be sure to cut small slices; it really is amazingly rich.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Makes 16 servings

11/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter

12 ounces bittersweet chocolate bits

3/4 cup strong brewed coffee

6 eggs

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

Pinch of salt

2 tablespoons brandy or rum

Whipped cream, to serve

Fresh berries or shaved chocolate, to serve

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat an 8-inch cake pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit. Set the cake pan in a larger baking dish, such as a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.

2. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the chocolate bits until completely melted and smooth. Stir in the coffee.

3. In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together the eggs, brown sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and brandy for 2 to 3 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Beat in the chocolate-butter mixture. The batter should resemble a thick pudding. Pour the batter into the cake pan, jiggling the pan to settle the batter so that it's level.

4. Place the larger pan with the cake pan in it into the oven. Pour hot water into the larger pan, being careful not to get any water on the cake batter. Add enough water to bring it halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the cake is slightly puffed and set in the middle.

5. Carefully remove the pan from the oven; be careful not to splash the hot water. Remove the cake pan from the water bath, and allow the cake to cool fully in the pan. Place a serving plate over the cake pan and invert so that the pan is on top of the serving plate. Gently lift the cake pan off, then peel away the parchment paper.

6. Top with whipped cream and fresh berries or chocolate shavings.

Per serving: 340 calories;

250 calories from fat (74 percent of total calories); 28 g fat (16 g saturated; 0.5 g trans fats);

115 mg cholesterol; 23 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber;

18 g sugar; 5 g protein;

40 mg sodium.