Flourless Chocolate Cake

It deserves the thing.

AKA a well-deserved post dedication. Chocolate deserves it all. Chocolate is love because chocolate is basically the centre of the universe and everything else hovers in serf-like subservience bound to drifting orbits in honour of the magic lying before them.

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It’s flourless because of the ground almonds incorporated into the rich and decadent, chocolatey batter. I’m glad I made time just to bake this, in between all the schoolwork and studying, because firstly, it’s hell simple, and secondly, the end result was absolutely worth it. Some people think baking is a serious waste of time, but it’s utterly therapeutic and I love how I get to hone both my skill and concentration in the process. The cake is rich without being too cloying or fudgy in texture, the almonds offering a wholesome crumble and lift in body, dispersed evenly throughout. The quality of chocolate used here is of utmost importance. I used Ghirardelli chips here, because I had some left over from a previous baking spree and I wishd to ensure only the best possible final product. There’s… There’s no room for Hershey’s here, lads. Oops. Try as you might, you just won’t obtain the same glorious melt-in-your-mouth-brownie-style bite.

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Its semi-provocative flavour pairs superbly with a scoop of plain vanilla ice cream, straight out of the freezer and melting like frothy clouds on the surface. The original recipe called for 100% white sugar, but I replaced 50g with dark brown sugar instead to get that gorgeous molasses, treacly flavour. Which reminds me– I really need to get around making a treacle tart soon…

 

Flourless Chocolate Cake, adapted from Elizabeth David’s Flourless Chocolate Cake (which I’ve been meaning to attack for ages)

Ingredients

5 eggs, separated, with whites in a large and clean, stainless steel or glass bowl

100g ground almonds (or almond flour)

250g good quality dark chocolate (60% cocoa or above), in chips or broken into chunks

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon salt

150g unsalted butter (or eliminate the one teaspoon of salt and use salted butter instead)

100g white sugar, 50g dark brown muscovado sugar

icing sugar for the topping

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C (or 350 degrees F). Grease (no lining needed, hoorah!) and lightly flour a 9-inch cake pan with a removable bottom tin, or simple use a normal round cake tin. The cake itself isn’t hard to remove from the tin, so you shouldn’t be worried about having difficulty (as the story is with so many brownie recipes I have tried in the past) to remove it after cooling, post-bake.

Half fill a medium saucepan with water and bring it to a boil. Place a bowl containing the chocolate and butter on top to create a double-boiler system. Use a wooden spoon to stir and melt it all together, and once most of it has melted, add the sugars and continue stirring until it’s all been dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in ground almonds. Make sure to break apart any clumps or clusters. Stir in the five egg yolks.

In the large bowl containing your egg whites, beat with a hand mixer until you reach reasonably stiff peaks. Soft, but not completely stiff. The original recipe said ‘stiff’, but I yielded a perfectly good mixture afterwards even with slightly softer peaks. Definitely past the baby froth stage, but you’re not quite going for a pavlova-style mountain range. Use a spatula to gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate and egg yolk mixture. Take your time here– be patient and wait for a couple minutes until it comes nicely together. Believe me, I was initially extremely skeptical during this stage, as the first few folds seemed to make the mixture split and turn watery. I panicked. But I willed the thing to work (for heaven’s sake, right?) and it all came together beautifully in the end. The ribbons of white will lighten the mixture both in colour and texture, and you end up with a sort of heavy mousse. Just be patient with the folding.

Pour mixture into cake tin and smooth out the top. Place in the middle of your preheated oven and bake for 40-45 minutes. Mine was fine by 40. Check yours with a skewer at 40 minutes– if the stick comes out with moist crumbs then take it out, if it’s wet then leave it in for another 3 minutes or so. Leave to cool on a rack, before dusting some icing sugar on top. Serve this warm with some vanilla ice cream and nothing else, because just this pairs makes for the perfect afternoon treat. Have it for breakfast. Have it for… um, anything, really.

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This flourless chocolate cake can be kept at room temperature in an airtight container for a couple of days, or store it in the fridge and it will reheat nicely.

 

 

 

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