Monday, February 14, 2011

Flourless Chocolate Cake: A Love Affair

I can't believe it's taken six posts to write about chocolate.  Sacrilege!!!!  Anyone who knows me, knows that I'm pretty tight with chocolate.  I almost always stick with the dark stuff, because it's full of antioxidants and practically health food, but every once in a blue moon I'll fall back onto my ultimate fave - milk chocolate with toffee chunks.  Cuz, me and toffee, we are pretty tight too.  And it's no coincidence that today is Valentine's Day, or Love Day or Chocolate is a Boyfriend Substitute Day (do they make cards for that?).  I kind of love Valentine's Day (ha ha).  Over the years there have been the boys that brought me beautiful flowers and cooked me dinner, but the Valentine's Days I really remember are the ones spent with friends.  Long ago, living in Montreal, me and my roommate sat at our kitchen table and made beautiful Valentine cards for our loved ones back West, and our friends in the city.   Using coloured paper and my oil pastels, we lovingly cut them out, and wrote quotes on them.  I think I still have the ones she made for me.  The other Valentine's Day that stands out, is again in Montreal, me and my friends had an "Anti Valentine's Day Party"  which was dessert potluck.  Maybe we were bitter about boys, but that was one helluva party.  And really you can't be too bitter, eating chocolate and dancing to Prince!   Even though there is no one special this year to buy me flowers and cook me dinner,  I'm still surrounded by people who love the bones off me, and that's really all that matters.  I'd rather be single and pretty happy, than in a dead end miserable relationship.  And being bitter is a waste of time.  We all know that.  So whether you are spending V-Day solo, or with your loved one, or with a room full of loved ones, consider this my Valentine to you. 

I've never made flourless chocolate cake before.  Always loved it eating out, so thought I'd give it a try, after seeing a recipe in one of Martha's magazines.  The great thing about this is cake is that it is not only full of chocolate and butter, but also, it's GLUTEN FREE!  And if you have a loved one who is Celiac, you know, like I do, how it can be a bit difficult to cook and bake for them.  This cake doesn't need any specialty flour or ingredients.  Just lots of eggs and chocolate and sugar.  I didn't use super good quality chocolate, just President's Choice brand Extra Dark 300g bar.  You know the ones they were clearing out after Christmas?  The chocolate isn't hideous, and sometimes you just have to use what you have in the cupboard.  Be sure to beat the eggs for the specified times, cuz that's what give it it's oomph.  It bakes up high, then condenses down into beautiful crackles, with a super fugdey centre.    Drizzle with some of the Espresso Glaze, a little whipped cream if you are totally decadent.  I spent my small life savings on some organic raspberries, but couldn't resist them.  It's been 5 months since I've had a fresh raspberry, and I only eat organic berries (don't even get me started on pesticide residue on berries), so I paid the small fortune for them.  Completely worth it.  Chocolate + Raspberry = perfection. 
From one girl who loves chocolate to all of you, who I'm sure do too, Happy Valentine's Day!  Share this cake with someone you love.

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Espresso Glaze 

For the Cake:
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 Cup granulated sugar
3 Tbsp. instant espresso powder
1/4 Tsp. coarse salt
1 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract

For the Glaze;
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 Tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp instant espresso powder
1/4 Tsp. coarse salt

To Make the Cake:
Preheat oven to 350*F.  Butter the bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan, and line the bottom with parchment, cut to fit.  I buttered the sides too.  Melt the chocolate and butter over very low heat, stirring and keeping close eye on it so as not to burn.  With a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg yolks with 1/2 cup of sugar, until thick and pale, about 3 minutes.  Add espresso powder and salt, and beat for 1 minute.  Add vanilla and chocolate mixture and beat for 1 minute more.  Transfer this mixture to a large bowl, and wash the  mixer bowl and whisk with hot soapy water. 

In your clean bowl, add the egg whites and whisk until foamy.  Slowly add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and beat the heck out of it, until stiff peaks form and hold their shape.  Fold the white goo into the chocolate mixture, in three additions.  Fold fold fold.  Pour the batter into your prepared pan. 
Bake until set, about 40-45 minutes.  Let cool completely on a rack, and then carefully remove pan from sides.  Lift cake with spatula and remove parchment. 

To Make the Glaze:
Combine chocolate and butter and vanilla in a bowl.  In a saucepan, add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil, stirring well.  Pour over chocolate and whisk until smooth.  Serve warm glaze with cake.  The glaze seemed to get a little thick on me, so you may want to add a bit more cream to thin it out. 
Cake serves 6-8.  (Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Living)

1 comment:

  1. The glaze gets really firm once refrigerated. I'm thinking this would also make amazing truffles! Just roll into balls, then either cocoa powder or finely crushed nuts, and they would be extraordinary!


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