Gluten free Flourless Chocolate Cake is decadent, sophisticated, and so simple it was prepared by my 9 year old! A copy of What To Bake was provided to me for purposes of an honest review. Affiliate links are used in this post to link to items I am discussing.
I realize I am getting this recipe to you a tad “off season.” I had it ready to go, but then holiday snafus ensued while I played email tag with the publisher (Phaidon) trying to get the recipe for you. I did not want to share an adapted recipe in this case, but to explain why I will need to back up a bit and tell you about the book first.
What to Bake & How to Bake It is a gorgeous beginner baking book. Please know I am not trying to damn it with faint praise, because it is truly gorgeous, but it definitely has an intended audience. Comprised of 50 recipes, each recipe is broken down into minute photographed steps. Hornsby makes sure that you know exactly what the recipe is supposed to look like at each step. It would be the perfect gift for a college graduate or someone learning to bake. I took one look at the book and knew how I was going to review it.
I gave it to Alex.
Alex had pretty free reign over choosing a recipe–although because it was for Sammy’s birthday party with my family I had veto power. And because Alex made it, to return to my original point, we really did not deviate from the recipe. I pushed her toward a more celebration worthy recipe–in other words, I nixed the brownies, which are always Alex’s first choice. I especially liked the idea of this cake, because while it is definitely celebration worthy and very sophisticated, I also thought Alex could do it–and how exciting would that be for her?
Alex had a blast making this cake. She was definitely blown away by what a “grown up” dessert she presented for Sammy’s birthday! We used ground hazelnut flour–one of the best things to keep in your freezer for desserts like this one (hazelnut or almond–I tend to keep both and think of them as pretty interchangeable).
The cake got oohs and ahs from everyone at Sammy’s party–partially yes because Alex made it but also just because it is a delicious cake, especially with a dollop of fresh lightly sweetened whipped cream.
- • 1¾ sticks butter ¾ cup plus 2 tbsp, plus extra for greasing
- • 1 cup skinned hazelnuts or almond meal, see Tip
- • 1 packed cup light brown sugar
- • 7 oz bittersweet chocolate 70% cocoa solids
- • 2 tbsp fresh espresso or 1 tbsp instant espresso mixed with 2 tbsp just-boiled water
- • 1 tsp vanilla extract
- • 5 eggs room temperature
- • ¼ tsp salt
- • 1 tbsp cocoa powder for dusting
Generously grease a 9-inch round springform pan with butter, then line the base with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Put the nuts in a food processor with 1 tablespoon of the sugar, then process until finely ground. If using almond meal, skip this step and add the sugar later on.
Break the chocolate into a medium heatproof bowl and add the butter, coffee, and vanilla. Melt together gently, either set over a pan of barely simmering water, or in the microwave. Stir until smooth, then set aside.
Crack the eggs into a large bowl, add the rest of the sugar, then whisk for 5 minutes with an electric mixer until thick, mousse-like, and doubled in volume.
Pour the melted chocolate around the edge of the bowl (this prevents it from knocking too much air out of the foam). Using a large metal spoon, fold the chocolate in. It might take longer than you expect to get the batter to an almost even brown, and before little ribbons of chocolate stop appearing.
Sprinkle the ground nuts and salt into the bowl, then fold them in until evenly blended. Carefully pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Preserving the air is the name of the game.
Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for about 35 minutes, or until the cake has risen and is set on top, with a just-perceptible wobble underneath the papery crust when you jiggle the pan. Put the pan on a cooling rack as it cools. The torte will sink and crack a little, which is fine.
If serving the cake cold, it’s easy to transfer it to a plate: just unclip the sides of the pan and use an icing spatula to loosen the cake and its lining paper away from the base. To serve warm, leave it in the pan, as the cake is quite delicate. Put the cocoa in a fine-mesh sieve and give the cake a good dusting. Serve with whipped cream, ice cream, and perhaps some berries if you like. The cake can be made up to 2 days ahead (I actually prefer it the next day) and kept in a cool place. Let it come to room temperature before serving.