I make a lot of flourless chocolate cake. And I do mean a LOT. First, there is my signature Flourless Raspberry Dark Chocolate Truffle Cake that I make as part of the dessert menu for a local restaurant, and then there is my Hazelnut Truffle Cake, the Flourless Dark Chocolate Maple Cake, and even a Flourless White Chocolate Cake, and so many more. But there is one step that I have never taken while baking any of these cakes. And yet it appears in all of the other online recipes.
So what is this supposedly crucial step that I am skipping? Separating the egg whites. That's right, I do not separate the yolks from the whites, and I do not fold stiff egg whites in to my batter just before putting it in the oven.
It's not that I have any good reason for not separating and whipping the egg whites, it's just that I never thought to do it. The first few recipes that I followed years and years ago did not call for it, and I have excluded it from every recipe that I have created since then.
So this week I decided to follow one of those 'other' recipes. I found a 'Flourless Chocolate Cake' recipe by searching on Google (for the recipe, click here). Not only did it include the step of separating egg whites, it also included almond meal (ground almonds) and a tablespoon of rum or brandy, which was new for me. So I gave it a try.
The recipe baked beautifully - in fact I recommend trying it. It did not suggest the percentage of dark chocolate to be used, so I used a cup (about 8 oz) of 71% dark chocolate chips (Camino's Organic and Fair Trade brand, but you can use any kind). It would probably be fine with a dark chocolate closer to 50%, like Lindt's long 300 gram bar that you can buy at the grocery store, but the overall cake would be sweeter. I also used a 9" springform cake pan - the closest conversion to the <24cm pan listed in the recipe. For the rest of the conversions, simply type them into Google and you should get a good match. And see below for a visual guide on how to make this recipe.
And how did it taste? The cake definitely had a hint of espresso flavour, and just a little hint of alcohol (but barely). The ground almonds are not finely ground, so there were tiny pieces that were noticeable in the cake. It was delicious, but definitely not the fudgy experience that I am used to.
I had added a Raspberry Chocolate Ganache to the top (find my recipe here). I considered pouring quite a thick layer onto the middle of the cake and letting it drip down the sides, which would have been tasty. But I wanted to highlight the flavour of the cake, instead of the ganache, so I just put some in a pastry bag, cut a tiny piece off the corner and made little swirls all over the cake. This added just a hint of raspberry flavour and a bit more chocolaty goodness to the cake.
So what was the difference? By not separating the eggs, and then folding in stiff egg whites, my 'usual' flourless chocolate cakes are more like large slices of fudge or truffle on a plate. By adding the fluffy whites, the cake becomes spongier, more closely resembling a regular chocolate cake (although there is still a little 'fudgy-ness' to it).
Here is the link to the printable version of the recipe that I used: http://www.food.com/recipeprint.do?rid=162642
Check my 'Recipes' page for more flourless chocolate cake recipes to try. They are all delicious!
Visual Guide to Making Flourless Chocolate Cake
(get the recipe and ingredients list here):
|The first step is to melt the butter and chocolate together over a double boiler |
(a stainless steel or glass bowl resting over a pot with 1`of barely simmering water in it)
|While the butter and chocolate are melting, separate your egg whites from the yolks |
and whip, with an electric mixer, until stiff peaks form.
|Add the other ingredients to your chocolate and butter mixture, |
including almond meal, espresso, 1 tbsp. of rum and cane sugar.
|This is almond meal. You can buy it at health food stores or bulk stores. |
I bought mine at Bulk Barn in Canada.
|The final step is to fold in the whipped egg whites. Do this carefully.|
|This is the final batter just before it went into the oven.|
|This is the baked cake, when I took it out of the oven after 45 minutes of baking.|
|This is the final product, decorated with my Raspberry Chocolate Ganache recipe|
and some roasted almonds!