Monday, April 13, 2009

Flourless Dark Chocolate Cake

This recipe lulled me into a false sense of security. It only has two ingredients it will be simple, right? Very very wrong. Those two ingredients tested my patience until I was swearing up a storm and very nearly gave up on it several times. Things were not improved by the fact I started making this at midnight the night before Easter. That is never a good idea and yet I make the mistake time and again. Apparently there is something about midnight that screams last minute baking.

There were plenty of other problems along the way. Unsweetened chocolate must mean something very different in France because Montignac keeps talking about unsweetened chocolate with different ranges of cocoa content. Here, at least in Madison, the only unsweetened chocolate is 100% cocoa baking chocolate which I am now going to assume has a very different texture than whatever Montignac was cooking with. It is also bitter requiring me to wing it and add fructose until the cake tasted edible. If you're using 100% cocoa chocolate you'll want to keep tasting the cake mixture and adding fructose until it tastes sweet enough, and then add a little more.

The other problem with unsweetened American chocolate is there are no additives in it to thin out the chocolate so when I went to add the egg yolks to the warm chocolate I got a hunk of chocolate scrambled eggs. A dozen eggs and 2 boxes of chocolate in a blob of ineligibility that defiantly was not going to fold into the egg whites.

It was about then I started swearing, then I called for the fella who was smart enough to be hiding upstairs. I was on the verge of angry tears at wasting all this chocolate and the recipe making a fool of me. The fella just looked at me like I was crazy, which I was. His mere presence in the kitchen calmed me down enough think that adding milk might help with the solidified chocolate situation. That would have been fine except the milk was way curdled which only further fueled my rage, wondering why it was in the fridge so long past its due date. Thankfully I found some heavy cream and there was just enough to thin out to chocolate so that the egg whites could be folded in.

After all that drama I had no optimism left as I threw the cake into the pan and wondered what could possibly make it edible after only 8 minutes of cooking. Oddly enough it rose into a beautiful bake like dessert and popped easily out of the pan. The next day I melted more chocolate for the topping and was really excited to try it.

After dinner I took a warm knife to it, then I hacked at it with a fork, then I threatened to throw it against the wall. The topping on this cake would not crack. I had to use all my strength to break through which caused the cake to shatter into unattractive bits rather than allowing itself to be cut into wedges. My family went with the flow and gladly accepted odd shaped pieces of chocolate cake which continued to put up a fight on the plate, refusing to break apart.

It was worth the effort, the cake bit is very fluffy and delicious. The topping is yummy as well but impossible to break, I would suggest making the topping much thinner than the recipe calls for. We also didn't think it was sweet enough even with the addition of fructose so we drizzled agave nectar over our slices. Then it was perfect, it would be great with jam, fruit, maple syrup, anything to break up the pure chocolate.

This cake taught me that there really is such a thing as too much chocolate, believe it or not.

After eating it we were all drunk on it. 100% cocoa is not something to mess with especially when combined with a bottle of wine. It was LSD cake, we were out of our minds after one tiny piece each, giggling at nothing and talking about things not fit for polite company. Two nights in a row now I still haven't slept well, its that powerful. I have years of over caffeination under my belt from surviving on nothing but coffee for 8 hour shift playing barista in busy cafes, and yet even that did not compare to the rush from the cake.

This cake needs a warning label. It is amazing but hallucinatory.

Flourless Dark Chocolate Cake

11 ounces unsweetened dark chocolate (plus 6 more for topping)
10 large eggs, separated
4 tablespoons fructose
1 cup heavy cream (to thin out your chocolate if necessary)

Line the bottom of an 8 inch round pan with baking parchment. Heat the oven to 500.

Place a large glass or ceramic bowl over a saucepan of barely boiling water to create a double boiler. Break the 11 ounces of chocolate into smaller pieces and place in bowl. Stir occasionally until melted and smooth, about 10 minutes then remove from the pan and let cool at least 5 minutes. Taste the melted chocolate, depending on the cocoa content of your chocolate it may need to be sweetened. I added 2 tablespoons fructose.

Using a hand held electric mixer, beat the egg whites in a large bowl until stiff peaks form. This will take a long time to accomplish, you're finished when you lift the beaters from the eggs and the peak you pull out of the mixer stays stiff.

In another bowl beat the egg yolks until they are well combined. Slowly add them to the melted chocolate. If the chocolate and egg yolk mixture is too stiff to stir easily or turns into a sold mass, add the heavy cream until it has a thick mouse like consistency. Add a couple tablespoons of beaten egg whites and stir to combine. Quickly and gently fold in the rest of the eggs whites until the mixture has a consistency of a soufflé or light mouse. Do not over mix.

Pour the chocolate mixture into the pan and bake for exactly 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for 30 minutes before placing in refrigerator covered for at least 12 hours.

To finish, turn cake over onto a flat work surface and remove from pan. Melt the remaining 6 ounces of chocolate in a double boiler. Add remaining 2 tablespoons fructose to sweeten if necessary. When fully melted pour a thin layer of chocolate over cake and refrigerator for 15 minutes. To serve dip a sharp knife in hot water and use to slice cake in very thin pieces.

Original recipe from Slim Forever the French Way.

1 comment:

LindsayC said...

Tell the truth. "Agave nectar" really means TEQUILA, which is why you were all giggly. LOL. (I actually love agave nectar in my iced lattes. NOM NOM NOM.)

My first reaction when you said thi cake was "worth it" was LIES! I have had these kitchen experiences and truthfully, I have no clue how you come out of them so positive. Arg.

(Patrick's presence in my kitchen does not calm me; it usually makes me more insane. He has to take me into the living room, talk me down from the ledge, and only then I can go face the chocolate scrambled eggs or whatever it was.)