Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Flourless Chocolate Cake | A Delightful Oxymoron



"Flour-less" and "cake" are just two terms I could never get to go together in my head. How could a cake have no flour, I wondered. It could hardly be called a cake, could it?

I was wrong. But it took me a long time to get on the flour-less bandwagon. Within the past couple weeks, I made one and ate another.

The first time, I made one with my 10 year-old cooking student. It was a first for both of us. His mother eats a gluten-free diet and so I do try and accommodate her.  The recipe we tried was from All Recipes.  It was good, but not quite as good as the one my sister made when our Tampa daughter came north (!) for a visit.

And now I know why . . . my sister's recipe was baked in a water bath, like cheesecakes are often recommended to be baked. And it had a lot more eggs that had to be whipped until double in volume.

They're both keeper recipes -- the first one is simpler, easy enough for a weekday, and more brownie-like. The second one, duplicated below, from Cook's Illustrated, is just richer, fudgier, just plain ol' more chocolaty!

Both deserve to be topped with a dusting of confectioner's sugar and fresh berries, raspberries, if you want perfection!



Flourless Chocolate Cake
from Cook's Illustrated
8 large eggs, cold
1 pound bittersweet chocolate or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 pound unsalted butter (2 sticks), cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1/4 cup strong coffee or liqueur (optional)
Confectioners' sugar or cocoa powder for decoration

Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees F.. Line bottom of 8-inch springform pan with parchment and grease pan sides. Cover pan underneath and along sides with sheet of heavy-duty foil and set in large roasting pan. Bring kettle of water to boil.

Beat in bowl of electric mixer fitted with wire whip attachment at medium speed (speed 6 on a KitchenAid) until eggs double in volume, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt chocolate and butter, adding coffee or liqueur, if you want, in large heat-proof bowl set over pan of almost simmering water, until smooth and very warm (about 115 degrees on an instant-read thermometer), stirring once or twice. Fold 1/3 of egg foam into chocolate mixture using large rubber spatula until only a few streaks of egg are visible; fold in half of remaining foam, then last of remaining foam, until mixture is totally blended.

Scrape batter into prepared springform pan and smooth surface with rubber spatula. Set roasting pan on oven rack and pour enough boiling water to come about halfway up side of springform pan. Bake until cake has risen slightly, edges are just beginning to set, a thin glazed crust (like a brownie) has formed on surface, and an instant read thermometer inserted halfway through center of cake registers 140 degrees, 22 to 25 minutes. Remove cake pan from water bath and set on wire rack; cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate overnight to mellow. The cake can be covered and refrigerated for up to 4 days.

About 30 minutes before serving, remove springform pan sides, invert cake on sheet of waxed paper, peel off parchment pan liner, and turn cake right side up on serving platter. Sieve light sprinkling of Confectioners’ sugar or unsweetened cocoa powder over cake to decorate, if desired. Top with fresh raspberries or strawberries, too, if you'd like.

5 comments:

  1. At first I couldn't wrap my mind around a flourless cake, either. Until I learned about the magic of eggs and butter, and how they provide so much structure to a cake. This looks just totally evil. Which, of course, is what one wants in a cake! Really good -- thanks.

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    1. I have to admit I was surprised how great this cake was, John. Frankly, I'm not much of a cake lover. (Give me pie.) But this was pudding/fudge/brownie -- perfect for me.

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  2. I've always wanted to make a flour-less chocolate cake and for some reason never have. So pretty. Happy Easter Rosemary.
    Sam

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    1. I can imagine this cake with strawberries, Sam, but raspberries are . . . the berries!

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  3. Who needs flour to distract you from all of the chocolate?

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