Audrey Hepburn's Favorite Chocolate Cake Used Almost An Entire Carton Of Eggs

Audrey Hepburn's personal chocolate cake recipe was nothing short of indulgent, using eight yolks and serving 12 people. That's almost an entire carton of eggs — needless to say, this was a treat for special occasions, like birthdays. So why did the instructions demand such large ingredient quantities? Well, yolks are full of lecithin, a group of nutritional fats that bind and structure the cake. Of course, adding a high amount inevitably impacts its color, creating a bolder yellow mixture. The increase leads to a more colorful, richer, and denser final product. 

You may wonder why do some recipes, like chantilly cakes, only use whites? And what happens if you decrease the total amount of eggs? Interestingly, the whites have a higher water content, which helps to lighten the consistency for fluffier results. Generally speaking, with fewer, you'll notice an unpleasant flour taste and a flat, compact appearance. It makes sense that Audrey Hepburn wanted to separate the yolks, a typical choice for sponge-style creations.

Why was this cake so special to Audrey Hepburn?

Contextually, Audrey Hepburn's beloved dessert was a sharp contrast to her experience of WWII rationing. The U.K. government rationed eggs in 1942, only lifting bans nearly a decade after the end of the war. She also resided in the Netherlands during this time, where a catastrophic famine took approximately 30,000 lives from 1944 to 1945 under Nazi occupation. Born in 1929, she lived through strict limitations on food products from age 11 into her early 20s and was no stranger to sacrifice and hunger. Knowing this only makes the Hepburn family chocolate cake even more luxurious; it would have been a precious dish and amongst Audrey Hepburn's favorite foods

When you try her recipe, just have a drink on hand to combat all that richness. Maybe you can enjoy a slice alongside a glass of the rare Scotch that Audrey Hepburn loved (and only drank neat). The aim is a luxury culinary experience after all.