Flourless Chocolate Cake
Natalie of Good Girl Style is back today to share a decadent chocolate cake worthy of your festive New Year’s Eve table. Natalie is joining us each month to share incredible desserts with Big Girls, Small Kitchen readers–desserts that are entirely gluten-free, but not like obviously gluten-free. That means no specialty flours or hard-to-find ingredients, just good old-fashioned butter, sugar, fruit, cream, and, most importantly for today’s dessert, chocolate. Don’t miss her first post, about Frozen Hot Chocolate.
This showstopper cake is similar in taste and texture to the inside of a truffle: creamy, decadent, and all about the chocolate! The corollary to that is the fact that you won’t miss the flour. Flourless chocolate cake is a thing on its own.
Since chocolate, butter, and eggs are the main ingredients here, it is important to use the best you can find. I used E Guittard 63% bittersweet chocolate, but any high-quality bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate will do. For the record, this is not the place where you want to use milk chocolate: we want rich, hearty chocolate flavor that will stand up well after a sumptuous holiday dinner and hold its own. The process for making the cake is really simple, though it takes a bit of getting used to if you aren’t used to using a water bath. The water bath insulates the cake and prevents it from ballooning upwards (and all over your oven). You can create one using any deep roasting pan or cake pan.
The smooth surface of the finished cake doesn’t need a frosting, but if you feel compelled, you can drape the cake in a layer of chocolate ganache. Or, keep things simple and pretty with some easy-but-impressive sugar-coated cranberries.
Flourless Chocolate Torte
By Natalie Wise
Serves about 16
The cake is quite rich, so even though it looks small, skinny slices will satisfy even the most astute chocolate lover.
16 ounces bittersweet and/or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped or chips
2 sticks butter plus 1 teaspoon, divided
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup hot water
Sugared cranberries (optional; recipe follows)
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Take the time to prepare your pan perfectly. Using a 9-inch springform pan will ensure that you get a beautiful cake that easily comes out of the pan, but even with that, we need some extra insurance, so melt the 1 teaspoon of butter and use a pastry brush to coat the inside of the pan with melted butter. Trace the bottom of the pan onto a piece of parchment paper, cut that out, and place the parchment round inside the pan. Then butter the top of the parchment paper. Wrap the outside of the pan in a few layers of tightly wrapped foil to keep the water from the water bath we’ll be using from seeping in.
In the top of a double boiler over simmering water, melt together the chocolate, butter, and sugar. Keep an eye on the mixutre and stir frequently. Once smooth and combined, remove from heat and let cool slightly. Whisk in the hot water and the eggs until very smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Place the cake pan in a deep roasting dish or larger cake pan, and place these two pans on the oven rack. Carefully fill the larger pan with hot water (you can use the water from your double boiler to keep things streamlined) until it reaches halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Close the oven and let bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the surface of the center of the cake is firm. Carefully remove the springform pan from the water bath and let it cool and drain (water may be caught in the folds of the foil) on a towel for a few minutes, then move to a rack to cool completely. Refrigerate the cake for at least an hour or overnight before releasing the pan. Flip the cake onto the cooling rack, remove the bottom of the pan and peel off the parchment, then flip back onto your platter or cake stand. Decorate with sugared cranberries if desired.
Makes about 3/4 cup
1/3 cup sugar, plus more for coating
6 ounces fresh cranberries
Simmer the sugar and 1/3 cup of water in a small saucepan over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in the cranberries. Stir to thoroughly coat cranberries, then remove them with a slotted spoon and spread on a cooling rack to cool slightly. When the berries are tacky, but not sticky, pour regular granulated sugar onto a plate and roll the berries in it to coat. Let dry again on the cooling rack until no longer tacky.