A dessert that commands a tall glass of milk or a scoop of ice cream, now that’s my ideal Valentine’s Day dessert. This Flourless Chocolate Cake perfectly satisfies those qualifications, being dense with rich, dark chocolate, and the perfect companion of milk or ice cream.
Ironically, I made this cake a week ago with my friend Haley, anticipating the Valentine’s Day cravings that spread this time of year, but then we also had a Valentine’s Day SLCmixer with Victoria from Pinon Market, where we learned some chocolate skills and also made a flourless chocolate torte. So, after a week filled with creating and consuming more than my share of flourless chocoalte cakes, I feel like I’m an expert on this dessert.
A good flourless chocolate cake or torte should not sink down in the middle or taste of cheap chocolate but instead should have all of the best flavors of a high quality chocolate and have a smooth surface on top, perfect for glazing with ganache or dusting with powdered sugar. When I made the cake at home, I used a heart shaped doily as the pattern to decorate the top. When we made the cake at Pinon, we went a little more decadent, topping the cake with rich chocolate ganache.
Though I started the week as a amateur flourless chocolate cake baker, I ended as a professional. Here are a few tips and tricks that I learned from Victoria and Haley- you can beat egg whites by hand if you’re super woman (like Haley) but a well cleaned mixer will also to the trick, the cake should be baked with a rectangular cake pan filled with steaming hot water placed on the rack underneath, not a water bath, (another tip to prevent the cake from sinking), the cake is done when the center the size of a dime barely giggles, then let the cake cool in the oven by turning the oven off and leaving the oven door cracked open, for an hour or two or even overnight. If you decide to use a ganache to top the cake, place the cake on a stand slightly smaller than the cake (a piece of tupperware or container of yogurt will do) so that the ganache can drip down the sides of the cake. If your cake slopes in the middle, you may have not let it set long enough before removing it from the oven or you possibly didn’t bake it long enough.
Now that you have all the tips necessary for a successful baking experience, I’ll waste no more time and leave you with a recipe guaranteeing a perfect Valentine’s dessert.
- 10 ounces high quality dark chocolate (60-70%), coarsely chopped
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 7 large eggs, separated
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons of coffee
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a 9 inch springform and line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and butter the parchment.
- Using a double broiler or microwave, melt the chocolate and set it aside to cool but not harden.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fixed with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on high speed until pale, light and thoroughly combined, about 5 minutes.
- Separate egg yolks and whites. I find it useful to use a three bowls for this using the third bowl to break the egg whites into to make sure no yolks get into the white before transferring each white into the egg white bowl. This just ensures that no egg yolks get into the final egg white bowl.
- With the mixer on low speed, add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. After all the egg yolks are added, scrape the bowl and beat a few more seconds. Add the cooled chocolate and mix until thoroughly combined. Scrape down the bowl, add the vanilla and coffee, and beat until just incorporated. Transfer this mixture to a separate bowl and clean the mixing bowl and whisk attachment well (if there is any leftover chocolate on the bowl the egg whites won't whip up). I use a lemon or apple cider vinegar to wipe down the bowl after cleaning it to make sure its ready top whip egg whites.
- In the extra clean mixer, whisk the egg whites and salt until stiff peaks form. Scoop one cup of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold in the egg whites. After about 30 seconds of folding, add the remaining egg whites and gently fold in until almost completely combined (or you can add the chocolate mixture slowly to the side of the egg white bowl and fold). Do not rush the folding process.
- Pour into the prepared pan and use and offset spatular to smooth the top. Place a rectangular pan on the rack beneath with an inch or two of water inside to help the cake rise and be moist. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the center barely giggles. Be careful not to over bake this cake.
- Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. Use a knife to loosen the cake from the sides of the pan. Remove the springform sides.
- To decorate with powdered sugar set a pattern or doily on top of the cooled cake, then dust with powdered sugar. Carefully remove your pattern. Slice and enjoy!
let cool in the oven (turned off) to prevent the middle from sinking.
Recipe from Baked, a New York Bakery.