Thursday, July 21, 2011

Flourless Chocolate & Almond Cake


Pin It

Behold this cake! It's dark, rich, smooth and oh-so-indulgent (like all men should be). I chanced on the recipe at Times Online and thought it sounded promising, but I really sat up when I noticed the same writer had featured it twice - first here in 2004 (Flourless chocolate & almond cake), and 3 years later in 2007 (Still the best chocolate and almond cake).

"... there is one well-known and well-loved cake that I go to for all manner of celebrations: a rich, flourless chocolate cake adapted from an Elizabeth David recipe in French Provincial Cooking. She simply calls it a chocolate and almond cake, although I believe it is also known as Reine de Saba, or Queen of Sheba. Rich and intense, it rises slightly in the oven only to deflate, crack and wrinkle into a rustic mess as it cools — all part of its charm. It makes a fabulous dinner-party pudding with crème fraiche or custard, is even better as a celebration cake dusted with icing sugar or cocoa powder, and is particularly good, I must say, for breakfast. Of the 260 recipes in the past twelve months, this is one of my favourites."
- Jill Dupleix, Times Online

WOW.

How could I not give such a highly-recommended cake a shot? So, bright and early I started ... mixing and whisking, and before long, I was rewarded with a cake that tasted as good as it looked.


(Left) Yolks bathed in gorgeous morning light. (Right) How come no "rustic cracks"??? I waited and waited for the cake to deflate and crack with panache, but nothing happened! It only cracked slightly when I started slicing - and that was because it was not yet completely cooled. Where are the cracks when you want them?

Recipe
(from Times Online)
Serves 6

Prep: 20 min
Cook: 50 min

* I would highly recommend using a springform cake pan or removable-bottom cake pan to bake this.

- 200g dark, bitter chocolate (I used Valrhona Equatorial 55%, so ... not exactly dark or bitter)
- 1 tbsp strong espresso coffee (I omitted this)
- 1 tbsp rum or brandy (I used rum)
- 150g caster sugar (I reduced the sugar to 130g because I didn't use dark bitter chocolate)
- 150g butter (I used unsalted)
- 100g ground almonds
- 5 eggs, separated
- Icing sugar for dusting
- Pinch of salt (the recipe doesn't call for this, but I always feel salt enhances the flavour of chocolate ... still, it's optional)

1. Melt the chocolate, coffee, rum or brandy, sugar and butter (and salt, if using) in a bowl sitting in a pot of barely simmering water. Remove from the heat and stir until well mixed.

2. Add the ground almonds and mix well. Beat in the egg yolks, one by one.
* Unless you can't take nuts, you must include the almonds! The nutty flavour brings out another dimension against the smooth chocolate. Amazing.

3. Beat the egg whites until stiff and peaky, and stir a couple of spoonfuls into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, before gently folding in the rest.
* Let me clarify for those who are unclear: add whites to chocolate, not the other way around.


4. Turn into a buttered and floured 20cm (8in) round or square cake tin and bake at 180°C/Gas 4 for 40 to 50 mins (less if you like it fudgey, more if you like it cakey).
* I found it neither fudgey nor cakey. I'd like to use the word "mousse-like" to describe the velvety-soft interior. If you like chocolate mousse, you'll love this cake.

5. Leave to cool before removing gently from the tin, and dust with icing sugar to serve.


Pin It

This was what I got after baking for 40 mins, and to me, it was perfect - slightly crusty edges with an interior so tender, it yielded completely to the gentlest nudge of the fork. If, however, you like it "cakier", then bake slightly longer but with a sheet of foil tenting the cake. It could brown too much and burn. Do keep an eye as you bake ... chocolate cakes have a tendency to produce burnt tops if you are not watchful.

But basically, this is it! A cake that truly lives up to its glowing reputation. :) Isn't it a beauty? 'Twas was a HUGE hit, with everyone asking for seconds and get this, the next day too!

41 comments:

  1. You definitely can do wonders with those chocolate products!!! Look at this delicious chocolate almond cake...nom nom nom.....

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow, it looks so good and yummy! I can't wait to make it now. I have a dumb question: Do you use almond meal or do you ground the almonds? =)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yum! This is my kind of cake...

    ReplyDelete
  4. HP: Ground almonds = almond meal. :) At least that's what I gleaned from the Internet. I used storebought almond meal, for what it's worth. Good luck baking! You're gonna love the cake. It's so, so AWESOME.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This is indeed a truly delicious looking cake...so moist! I would love to try this, thanks for sharing:D

    ReplyDelete
  6. Looks amazing! Thanks for sharing! :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Oh, bless this decadence. YUM.

    ReplyDelete
  8. It's exquisite..Your analogy ..about men is so cute..Elizabeth David..I am wondering if this is who my friend was talking about..?

    She said a very popular French Cookbook author?

    ReplyDelete
  9. hi Ju! nice to walk around your blog.. :)
    this flourless chocolate cake looks very moist and chocolatey!
    i should try this someday!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Flourless cakes are my favorite! This looks awesome :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm definitely going to give this a try. I love anything chocolate. Thanks so much for the recipe. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Wow..this does look like it has such amazing texture and taste too, and its so easy to make! I have a feeling this will be getting made sometime very soon :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. I love the texture of your cake! It looks sooo good...

    ReplyDelete
  14. you are a gifted baker no doubt, u are a gifted photographer as well. that cake looks absolutely fabulous.

    ReplyDelete
  15. This cake looks great - love it.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Sorry for asking such a stupid question but what is 1T of strong expresso coffee? Is it expresso granules or liquid expresso coffee (that is, can be drank)? This recipe looks too good to pass up so I would love to try soon! Tks for sharing. vb

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thanks so much, everyone! It's such a fantastic cake, I hope all of you try it.

    vb: Yes, liquid form. :) Just make your coffee very concentrated. Go for it!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I just finished baking this cake and thought you should be the first person to know. It's superb! Thanks for sharing the recipe! :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. HP: That's great news! Enjoy the cake. :)

    ReplyDelete
  20. This is gorgeous! Fabulous pics Ju!
    I would love this as a birthday cake, and if it were not so darned hot here I would bake it right now!

    ReplyDelete
  21. OH my, love the texture! Now I want to give this a go too!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Anything chocolate sounds good to me and this is definitely up my alley!

    ReplyDelete
  23. This looks simply amazing. I surely wanna try it!! 1st time to your blog, but gonna visit more.

    ReplyDelete
  24. This is surely a great cake! I have made many many chocolate cakes and can tell a good one; it reminds me of the Reine de Saba but lighter.

    ReplyDelete
  25. the cake rose beautifully in the oven, then it sunk after taken out and cooled! =(
    any idea wat could have happened?

    ReplyDelete
  26. Anon: I think you didn't read my post. Look at lines 10 and 11.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Hi, what would you suggest as replacement for rum or brandy? I'm planning to bake one for some guests and the presence of alcohol may not be suitable due to religion.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Anon: You can use vanilla extract. Perhaps 1 to 2 teaspoons?

    ReplyDelete
  29. i got an unsweetened chocolate bar instead of semi/bitter sweet and salted butter instead of unsalted one :( How can i do about it without having to re-buy everything again?

    ReplyDelete
  30. Anon: You can use them BUT you probably have to increase the amount of sugar to balance off that unsweetened chocolate, and omit salt. How much sugar? That's a tough call. I am *guessing* 180g to 200g?

    ReplyDelete
  31. just wanna share with you, i have baked this the 2nd time today. made some slight alteration:

    - 200g dark chocolate became 100g 85% dark chocolate + 75g coco powder & 4tbs canola oil (trying to save cost a little as those dark chocolates are somewhat pricey)

    - sugar amount remained at 130g

    - swapped almonds for macadamia

    the result: the chocolate flavour tasted just as good. despite the little amount of sugar vs the dark chocolate content, the sweetness level is just nice. the macadamia also gave a nice texture to the cake, softer but slightly oilier compared to almonds.

    thanks again for the recipe!

    btw, how would you suggest storing the cake as i worry that the fridge will spoil the crunchiness of the top crust?

    ReplyDelete
  32. This looks like such an amazing cake! I'm going to make this tomorrow morning and will let you know how it goes...

    Fingers crossed I don't mess it up! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

    ReplyDelete
  33. thanks for sharing this recipe! i made it today using about 130g of butter, 120g of ground almonds and 120g of sugar, and it worked beautifully. this may just replace Nigella Lawson's chocolate cloud cake as my favourite recipe for flourless chocolate cake!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Will this cake taste good if I replaced almond with hazelnut?

    ReplyDelete
  35. i'm gonna do it with chopped almonds instead as I like lots of crunch in a cake...cheers!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Hello! the cake looks beautiful, even without the rustic cracks. I am kinda worried about the amount of eggs used, my family buys large eggs and I am scared that the cake might turn out "eggy", like some of the cakes I baked that requires 4-6eggs. Is there any way to get rid of the "eggy"ness? Or should I use 4 eggs instead?

    ReplyDelete
  37. Ive made this recipe about 20 times - its the best! thanks! baking one niw for my birthday! yum!

    ReplyDelete
  38. Thanks for a great recipe. My 15 year old daughter made it for us this weekend.
    http://www.aspoonfulofsugardesigns.com/2012/12/flourless-chocolate-cake.html

    ReplyDelete