Tuesday, December 28, 2010

French Flourless Chocolate Cake

Although this is a bit fiddly it is well worth making for special occasions as this is a truly amazing cake.  It is based on a recipe from Cacaoweb.  It is rich and heavy and not too sweet.  Serve in small slices with homemade whipped cream and some good coffee.  The trick to make this outstanding is to use high end ingredients: organic butter, good quality chocolate such as Ghirardelli or Valrhona and caster sugar.  Also use a scale to measure the ingredients out rather than cup measures.  This is a far more accurate way of baking. 

makes one single layer 8 or 9" cake

200g 70% baking chocolate
200g sweet butter (salted)
200g caster sugar
4 large eggs separated

Springform cake tin
Parchment paper
Stand mixer
Double boiler or microwave dish

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Line a springform pan with parchment paper and butter the paper.  This cake is very sticky so you can't turn it out of a regular cake tin intact.  The parchment paper and quick release sides guarantee that your cake will be presentable after getting it out of the baking tin.  For an added touch sprinkle cocoa powder on the parchment after buttering.
  3. Separate eggs into two different bowls: yolks in one, whites in the bowl for the stand mixer.
  4. Cut butter into chunks and break chocolate up into chucks.  Either place in top pan of a double boiler (NEVER melt chocolate on direct heat) and melt over boiling water or place in microwave dish and heat in 30 second intervals checking and stirring between heating cycles.  As soon as everything is melted remove from heat.  Do not boil.  Do not over heat.  If using a double boiler wipe water off bottom of pan so it doesn't drip into the cake mix.  Water and chocolate don't mix.
  5. Mix half of sugar into egg yokes and whisk together until a nice sunshine yellow color.
  6. Take a spoonful of chocolate mixture and stir into yolk mixture.  Don't dump it all in at once since it might cook the eggs.  Add chocolate by half cups and mix between each addition.
  7. In a stand mixer whip egg whites with rest of sugar until stiff peaks form.  If you stick a knife in and then remove it only the very tip of the peak should flop over.  Keep an eye on this process since the proper peak comes fast and it is possible to overbeat at which point everything collapses and you have to start over with fresh egg whites.  There is a way to recover over beaten whites but I can't remember the method.
  8. Gently fold egg whites by ladle fulls into chocolate mixture making sure the air stays in the mix.  This is easiest to do with a spatula.
  9. When batter is even in color gently pour into cake tin.
  10. Bake for 40 minutes until wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out slightly damp with no raw mix attached.
  11. Remove from oven and allow to cool on rack.  Cake will fall.  Don't worry this is normal.
  12. Cake can be served warm.  Gently open spring and remove cake tin side.  Gently remove cake tin bottom from underneath cake and place cake on serving plate.  I usually leave the parchment on  the bottom but just be aware that it is there and don't cut through it when serving.

Homemade Whipped Cream

1 pint of whipping cream
1-2T caster sugar

Use an electric mixer and whip until desired consistency is obtained.  Hubby likes to almost turn it into butter.  I like it a bit runnier myself.

BTW, I have the little Salter mechanical scale so I can vouch for it.  It is a cheap easy scale to use but probably not the most accurate.  The Kintrex looks really cool though and it will probably be my next scale.  Farberware is good for this particular use but it isn't my favorite cookware in general.  The chocolate bars are all roughly 100g each so you will need two for the cake.  I have mixed chocolate brands in the past if that is what was in the cupboard at the time.  I have also used Callebaut chocolate but I dont' think it comes in 70% cocoa which is my preference.


  1. I would love to have a piece of this cake! It sounds divine. However, I am not able to do this kind of cooking anymore.

    I'm curious, however, is this cake similar to the gluten free cake they serve at PF Chang's? Do you know, Baffled?

  2. I've never gone there so I can't say. I have had similar cake before in other high end resteraunts though. It is dense so you can't actually eat a lot of it. I think most flourless cakes are similar to this one. The whipped egg whites give it the height.

    It isn't too bad to make and it keeps well for several days. If you use an electric stand mixer for whipping you don't need much energy to make this. I confess I did have help making this Christmas day but I also cooked Baked Ravioli so I needed all the help I could get in the kitchen that day. I would rank it only slightly more difficult than making a cake mix out of the box.