Thursday, August 16, 2012
Guest Blog: Flourless Chocolate Cake
I have a friend who can't "do" gluten so it makes baking sweets a delicate proposition. Luckily, flourless chocolate cake is a "thing," and a fancy one at that. My mother is fond of the Queen of Sheba Cake out of the original Julia Child cookbook. That one replaces the flour with almonds that have been smashed into a powder. This version, from the Gourmet Cookbook edited by my favorite food memoirist and former Gourmet editor Ruth Reichl (seriously, read her awesome memoirs, also RIP Gourmet Magazine), subs in cocoa for flour so, you know, it's like SUPER chocolatey. And deliciously easy. For reals.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. You need a fancy springform pan for this cake. I bought one just so I could make it—Scout's honor (I was never a Scout [but seriously, that's the truf]). Butter the bottom of the pan, then cut a circle of wax paper, place it on the bottom, then butter THAT. SO MUCH BUTTERING (you'll thank me when the cake comes out easier).
Melt 8 oz good bittersweet baking chocolate—not unsweetened or semisweet—this is harder to find, I ended up using two Ghirardelli's chocolate baking bars, which are definitely "good." Also, it's easier to break up than baking chocolate usually is. Anyways, melt this with two sticks of butter (this is neither vegan, nor the most heart-healthy cake, FYI) until smooth. Ruth wants us to melt it in a metal bowl over simmering hot water. I am a rebel, so I just threw it in a saucepan over very low heat and kept an eye on it. If chocolate burns, it's no good to you anymore. Once it's mostly melted, you can remove from heat and use the heat in the pan to finish melting as you whisk.
Removed from heat, add in 1 1/2 cups sugar, whisk in, then add in six eggs, whisking after each one so it's thoroughly combined (you wanna work relatively quickly so that any heat left in the chocolate and butter doesn't cook your eggs). Once the eggs are added, you add 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder and stir until just combined. If you're smarter than me, you either will use a larger saucepan (if you intend to mix everything in it) or at some point you will transfer to a bowl. I like doing it all in a saucepan because it makes cleanup easy.
Pour this concoction into the pan and stick 'er in the oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the top is cooked to a bit of a crust, and a skewer or toothpick comes out moist but with crumbs attached. Cool on a rack for ten minutes, then pop off the outside of the springform pan and let cool longer. If you move it to a plate too early, expect it to sink the middle a wee bit like mine did. But it still tasted good.
J. Brendan went to school with Kelly ages ago and now he pretends to be a graduate student and study music videos, which means he never has time to blog. But he if he does blog, he writes about music here (The Song Not Traveled), books here (Read 'Em, Don't Weep) and other stuff as part of a badass collective here (". . .and worth the fighting for. . ." )