Melt the chocolate in a double-boiler.
Grind the pecans and 1/4 c. sugar in a food processor.
Cream butter and 1 c. sugar. Add egg yolks, one at a time, scraping sides of mixing bowl.
Stir chocolate into egg mixture. Add ground pecans, flour and cocoa. Mix together.
Whip egg whites to stiff peak, gradually adding remaining 1/4 c. sugar.
Mix 1/3 egg whites into chocolate mixture (to aerate the chocolate mixture). Then, fold in the remaining egg whites.
Pour into a 10" spring form pan that has been sprayed with baker's spray and lined at the bottom with parchment paper.
Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Turn down oven to 325 degrees and continue baking another 30 to 40 minutes or until done. The cake will rise and be firm in the center when ready.
Allow cake to cool completely.
Using a cake knife, trim top of the cake until it is level. Remove the entire top layer as it tends to be fragile and crusty.
Brush away the crumbs.
Raspberry Cream Directions:
Puree the raspberries.
Whip cream, sugar, and vanilla until stiff.
Add the raspberry puree. Whisk together until combined.
Chocolate Ganache Directions:
Melt chocolate in a double boiler.
Heat cream to boiling point.
Add cream to chocolate and whisk.
To finish, place cake on a 10" cake circle or the inverted spring form base.
Place a cooling rack atop a clean sheetpan. Put cake on cooling rack.
Pour the ganache over cake, covering as much as possible. Use an offset spatula to scrape off excess ganache and level top of cake.
Allow ganache to harden somewhat, then press ground nuts onto sides of cake.
Note: Partially freezing the cake will make it easier to transfer to a serving platter.
Chocolate Garnish Directions:
Temper chocolate by melting in a double boiler to 86 degrees. If temperature of chocolate exceeds 88 degrees you will need to temper.
Using an offset spatula, spread chocolate on a sheet of parchment paper. Be sure to spread an area larger than the spring form pan.
When the chocolate has begun to set up (it will no longer have the very shiny appearance it had when melted), lay the base of the spring form pan over it and cut out a circle.
Cut the circle into 8, 12, or 16 pieces - however many slices you want to cut your cake. By this time, the chocolate will probably have set up. Dip your knife in hot water, then dry it. The warmth of the knife will allow you to continue cutting the chocolate.
As long as it is stored in a cool place - not the refrigerator - the chocolate garnish can be prepared well in advance.
Just before putting the chocolate garnish on the cake, sift powdered sugar over the top.
Vanilla Sauce Directions:
Whisk together sugar and egg yolks.
Scrape vanilla bean into half and half.
Bring half and half to a boil.
Just before the boiling point, pour half the liquid into egg mixture and whisk together to temper eggs.
When half and half boils, add egg mixture to boiling liquid and turn down heat to medium.
Stir sauce while it is cooking.
Cook sauce until it thickens and coats the back of the wooden spoon.
Strain and pour into clean container.
Cool in an ice-water bath, stirring occasionally as it cools.
Note: If you overcook the sauce, it will separate. If this happens, blend it immediately using a hand-held blender. Usually, this will save the sauce.