Monday, August 2, 2010

Flourless Chocolate Cake

I think the first time I mentioned making a flourless chocolate cake on this blog was back in November of 2008 after making a pumpkin cheesecake.  I'd recently tried a flourless chocolate at a restaurant in Chelsea and had completely fallen in love.

For some reason, I never actually got around to making it until now.  I needed a dessert for a party recently and decided that yes, I'd finally make what I consider the Holy Grail of chocolate cakes.  Mine didn't come out exactly as I was hoping, but I think it was a good first effort and a first step toward future greatness.

Flourless Chocolate Cake
Adapted from this recipe at


12 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 (12 ounce) bittersweet chocolate
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 large eggs (separated)
3/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar


Preheat oven to 325°F.  Oil and flour a 9-inch springform cake round.  Cut a piece of wax paper or parchment to fit inside the bottom of the pan, place the paper in the bottom of the pan.

In a double-boiler on gentle heat (I used a makeshift double boiler out of a small pot and a metal bowl), melt the butter and chocolate together until smooth.  Set aside to cool slightly.

In a clean mixing bowl (make sure there is no oil residue on the bowl or mixer attachments) beat the egg whites until they become cloudy and frothy; about 30 seconds.  Continue beating while adding the brown sugar and cream of tartar.

Beat until stiff peaks form–be careful not to over-beat–this is most important!  If the eggs curdle, throw them away and start over with new egg whites, seriously.  (I think I may have over-beat the eggs slightly).

Whisk the egg yolks and vanilla into the melted chocolate mixture in a large mixing bowl.  Gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate (start by folding in about 1/3rd of the whites, then gently fold in the remaining whites), the mixture should end up fluffy and light.

Pour into the prepared pan.

Place a casserole dish filled with 1-2 inches of water on the bottom rack of your oven.  Place the cake on the middle rack to cook.  Bake the cake for about 60-70 minutes or until it passes the toothpick test.  (I baked mine a little too long - start looking closely at around 45-50 minutes)

Remove cake from oven and allow to cool for about an hour.  Gently run a knife around the edge of the pan, and then carefully invert the cake onto a flat plate or other surface.

Remove the paper from the bottom (now the top) of the cake.
The cake can be eaten right away but it may fall slightly when it is cut- for best results, it should be refrigerated for at least 6 hours before serving.

So my version came out a little...irregular.  It was still very good, but it basically exploded out of the pan rather than making a nice, dense tort.  I think I cooked it too long along with over-beaten the eggs.  Was it good?  Yes, it was.  Was it what I was hoping for?  No, and I'm looking forward to trying again and getting it right.

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