Flourless chocolate cake
This slice of cake has all but split into two. It’s only been out of the fridge for about 20 minutes, but in this searing Manila summer heat (37°C last I checked), this chocolate baby doesn’t stand a chance. In a few minutes more, it became a pudding-cake.
A flourless chocolate cake is the only type of dessert I know that is named after a missing ingredient. The ones that I’ve had the misfortune of eating have mostly been dense,
bloc-o’-choc affairs ”“ think brownie, but without the ooey gooey fun. Since flour provides structure to any baked good, it’s apparent that anything without it would be heavy.
I’ve baked two kinds of flourless chocolate cakes: David Lebovitz’s Chocolate Orbit (from his book, Room For Dessert) and Lora Brody’s Bete Noir (Black Beast ”“ from her book, Growing Up On The Chocolate Diet). Both are baked in a water bath, ensuring slow, even baking, resulting in a smooth, custardy texture. Both were good, identical in procedure and taste even, although both do chill up into hunks of fudge. (Not a bad thing, don’t get me wrong).
Then I tried this recipe from Chocolatier magazine dubbed as their “Ultimate Flourless Chocolate Cake.” What a come on, eh? So I tried it. Unlike the other cakes of this genre, this one didn’t require separating eggs and whipping the whites. It’s also made entirely in a food processor so it’s almost a dump and mix kind of cake. Since chocolate is the main ingredient here, I used the best I could find (bittersweet Callebaut). No water bath required. This cake rises astonishingly high while baking and then almost immediately deflates when taken out of the oven.
Eaten while warm, this cake is an ethereal pudding, like silk on the tongue. Chilled, it’s light and unbelievably smooth, similar in flavor impact to the Chocolate Marquise served at Terry Selection.
Have at it.
Flourless Chocolate Cake
Adapted from Chocolatier, Feb/Mar 2004
Serves 8 shy people or 4 honest chocoholics
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I implore you to use the best chocolate you can afford, for the best results)
¾ cup white sugar
¾ teaspoon powdered coffee
¼ + 1/8 cup boiling water
6 ounces butter, softened
3 large eggs, beaten lightly
½ tablespoon (1½ teaspoons) vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 6-inch springform pan with 3-inch high sides with aluminum foil. Spray prepared pan with cooking spray or brush lightly with butter.
In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, process chocolate, sugar and coffee. With the processor running, pour the boiling water through the feed tube. Process until chocolate is completely melted. Scrape down sides of work bowl as necessary. Add butter and pulse until incorporated. Add beaten eggs and then the vanilla extract, pulsing ”˜til just blended in and mixture is creamy. Scrape chocolate batter into the prepared pan.
Place pan on a baking sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes (on convection, if you have it). Cake is done when edges are puffy and the center is still jiggly. A toothpick inserted in the center will come out wet.
Let cake cool completely on a wire rack. Cake will collapse in the center ”“ that’s ok. Eat warm or chilled. It’s great either way.