I’ve been eyeing this recipe for Flourless Chocolate Cake for a while now. I was so intrigued by a cake made with only 3 ingredients – I mean how well could a cake with no flour, no nut flour, no added sugar, no baking soda or powder really turn out??
My answer was made clear the moment I cut into it – part pudding, part mousse, part cake – the only word to describe the texture of this flourless chocolate heaven in a cake pan is ethereal.
I’ve been pretty strict about my diet and exercise regimen the past four weeks – our countdown to Italy is ON and I’m laser focused on the end goal: being able to eat pasta three times a day if I want and quenching my thirst with wine. But I could simply not resist this cake. I ate it for dinner.
You want to use the freshest, best quality ingredients you can get your hands on when making this cake – since there’s no place for them to hide, their quality should be top notch. I added a fourth ingredient, instant espresso powder, because I love how that flavour really enhances the chocolate flavour. You could also use a 1/4 Cup of strong brewed coffee, or a liqueur flavoured with coffee, almond, or orange.
A note on folding, the mixing technique used in this recipe. The point of folding, as opposed to just stirring, is to deflate the batter of as little air as possible. So holding onto the bowl with your right hand (I’m a leftie), cut down the middle of the bowl toward you with the spatula in your left, turning the batter up and over itself, then give the bowl a quarter turn toward you with your right hand and repeat, cutting down the middle each time. This process doesn’t need to be done slowly, but the handling of the batter should be gentle. You want those eggs retaining as much air as possible, since there’s no other leavener in this recipe to make the cake rise!
Also, don’t skip the water bath method used in this recipe! It’s a great technique for baking cheesecakes and crème brûlée as well. The hot water circulates the heat around the edges of the pan, keeping this egg-dense cake’s edges from curdling. The added moisture to the oven air also keeps the top from cracking. Always make sure you put the pan into the oven first, before you pour the water into it – trust me, transporting everything with the water already poured is damn difficult.
I’ve made flourless chocolate cake before that included almond flour as the base, and I really liked that it gave the cake a nutty, slightly crunchy texture. I thought since there were no nuts in this recipe I’d make a cashew cream to dollop over the top. I love cashew cream – it is so simple to make and transforms anything you wish to adorn with it – a bowl of granola and strawberries is taken to the next level with cashew cream! Simply soak your cashews in water, drain, add a bit more fresh water, vanilla, salt and maple syrup and grind them up in your blender. Delightful!
These recipes were inspired by The New Best Recipe from the editors of Cooks Illustrated, and It’s All Easy by Gwyneth Paltrow.
Ethereal and pillowy, chocolate cake in it's purest form!
- 8 Eggs
- 16 Tbsp (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter
- 1 Pound Bittersweet or Semi Sweet Chocolate, chopped coarse
- 2 Tsp Espresso Powder, optional
- 1 Cup Raw Cashews
- 1/2 Cup Water
- 1/4 Tsp Vanilla
- Pinch of Salt
- Preheat your oven to 325. Line a 9" springform pan with a parchment circle and spray with non stick spray. Wrap the bottom half of the pan with 2 large sheets of foil to keep water from seeping in and set the pan in a large roasting pan. Bring a kettle of water to boil.
- Beat the eggs in the bowl of your mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on high speed until they double in volume, about 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine the chopped chocolate and butter in a medium bowl and place over a pot of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally, until smooth. If you are using the espresso powder, add it to your chocolate mixture now.
- Fold a third of the egg foam into the chocolate mixture until a few streaks remain, then repeat with half of the remaining egg foam, and finally the last third, folding gently until no streaks remain.
- Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan in the roasting pan and place on the rack in the oven. Pour the boiled water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the side of the springform pan. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the temperature in the center of the cake is 140 degrees. Note the cake will still be quite jiggly in the center. Remove from the water bath and allow to cool on a rack. Wrap well in plastic, then place in the fridge to chill, preferably overnight, before unmolding. Dust the top lightly with sifted cocoa powder or icing sugar, and serve with berries and cashew cream or ice cream.
- Soak the nuts in water for at least 2 hours. Drain off the water and add the nuts to your powerful blender, preferably a Vitamix, along with the remaining ingredients. Process on high until smooth, about 2 minutes.