Friday, July 9

bourke street bakery's flourless chocolate cake

Between my eleven co-workers, there are seven dietary requirements. Because of this, I'm always on the lookout for a good gluten free dessert recipe. Most of the time this means I'm relying on gluten-free flour, which though blows my options sky high, just doesn't work with all cake recipes; Layer cakes crumble too much when cutting, recipes with a heavy batter need a little something extra to hold it together, and those without a great deal of other flavourings or fillings have a slightly unexplainable aftertaste.

It seems my recent adventures in baking have been addressing some of my culinary fears. I find the idea of flourless chocolate cakes so much lovelier than they ever turn out to be. In theory, they perfectly address my need for a workplace-worthy dessert; Rich, wonderful either warm or at room temperature, and a decent shelf-life. But, I like my cakes high and proud, with perfect edges and a beautiful plateaued surface. The potential of a slightly sad, flat, shriveled and concave cake has always meant I steer well clear of flourless cake varieties. But seeing and reading about Bourke Street's recipe, and having tasted and baked a safe number of their other sweet treats, I had to give this a shot. Since then, I've made this cake twice in a mere week.

Ingredients (serves 12, generously)
Recipe from Bourke Street Bakery: The Ultimate Baking Companion

260 gms dark chocolate (55% cocoa), finely chopped
135 mls milk
40 gms full-fat yoghurt
4 eggs
105 gms caster sugar, for eggs
4 egg whites
160 gms caster sugar, for egg whites
135 ml (4 1/2 fl oz) pouring (whipping) cream (35% fat)
55 g (2 oz) unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

Preheat the oven to 150C. Grease a 20 cm springform cake tin and line the base and sides with baking paper - the paper should come about 2.5 cm above the tin.

Put the chocolate in a large stainless steel bowl and set over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl does not touch the water - the bowl must be large enough to hold the whole cake mix. Allow chocolate to sit over simmering water without stirring until almost melted. Remove from heat, mix until smooth.

Put the milk and yoghurt in a saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to the boil. Remove from heat. Don't worry, you should have a curdled milk mixture.

Put the eggs and the sugar for the eggs in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk the eggs at medium speed for about 10 minutes, or until the mixture is very light and has doubled in volume. Set aside.

In another very clean and dry bowl of an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks, then slowly add the sugar for the whites, whisking until soft peaks form a shinny meringue. Be careful not to overwhisk. Refrigerate until needed.

Whisk the cream until soft peaks form. Refrigerate until needed.

You should now separate bowls of melted chocolate, curdled milk, whipped eggs, meringue, whipped cream and cocoa powder. Pour the curdled milk into the chocolate and use a whisk to mix it in, then add the cocoa and whisk to completely incorporate. Fold in the whipped eggs in three batches, making sure you completely incorporate the first batch before adding more. Don't be too concerned if you can still see streaks of eggs with the following batches. Lightly fold the meringue into the whipped cream, taking care not to knock out too much air. Fold this into the chocolate mix in three batches, making sure you incorporate the first batch before adding more.

Using a spatula, scoop the cake batter into the prepared tin and tap it twice gently on the bench to even out the mix. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes.

Do not disturb the cake for the first 45 minutes of cooking, after which time you should rotate it to ensure even cooking. You may need to cover the top of the cake with baking paper and lower the oven temperature if the top of the cake is starting to brown, but it didn't come to this for me. Test to see if the cake is baked by gently placing your hand on top of it and wobbling it a little, you should feel that the cake has set through. Remove from the oven the allow to cool for about 30 minutes in the tin before removing the sides. When completely cool, slide the cake onto a serving plate, to serve. I finished it with a dusting of cocoa.

It is best to use a sharp fine-bladed knife to cut this cake. Have a jug of very hot water, dip the knife in, and leave for about 10 seconds to warm the blade through. Dry the knife on a tea towel before slicing. Repeat this process after every slice for a perfectly clean cut.

The cake can be kept at room temperature  in an airtight container for a couple of days, or in the fridge for up to five days. I usually prefer all chocolate cakes warm, but this one is honestly as good at room temperature. It can be freshened up by placing it in a 150C oven for about ten minutes. Best eaten with double cream.

So this cake isn't picture perfect. It's cracked and slightly weak at the knees, but I find its ugly character utterly charming. It doesn't hurt that it tastes like heaven, of course.

And please don't let the length of this recipe intimidate you. All techniques used are simple, you just have to be organised, with plenty of bowls and a patience for strictly sticking to the recipe.

Recommended baking soundtrack: Peter & the Wolf - Lightness. 

1 comment:

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