Alright folks, this cake has a back story. I'm happy to say we've kissed and made up since our last encounter.
The first time I ever made a flourless chocolate cake was a few years ago for our church's 40th anniversary dinner. I wanted to be sure the church chef and pastor both had something delicious to eat (needed to be gluten free). So I did it, and it was great. Fast forward to last Easter...we were making an Easter cake for a dear friend at church and I had signed us up for a dessert at the potluck. Well Chef Ben was talking about the basket weave cake design and how perfect they are for Easter and insisted that he would make the basket weave cake for our friend. I said, well ok then, if you want to. We have a lot going on and I'm not committing to that, I'm already making the potluck dessert. Now, let's talk about this dessert. I decided I wanted to make that flourless chocolate cake again, since it had been so long. Are any of you seeing what's wrong with this picture?? I committed to baking a cake and Chef Ben committed to decorating one. NOT SMART!
So there we are, up early on a Sunday morning before church. I get all my ingredients out and I'm trying to hurry. Simultaneously, Chef Ben is about 10 feet away getting his tools ready for the basket weave cake. I pour my batter in the cake rings and immediately go "uh oh". I forgot an ingredient. Immediate frustration set in. Meanwhile Chef Ben is huffing and puffing about how much easier the basket weave was the last time he did it (in culinary school).
So now we're both highly flustered and running out of time and in need of help from eachother. So what do we do? We slap ourselves in the forehead and think 'what are we doing?" I'm baking and he was decorating and it was all wrong! So we switched places, Chef Ben fixed my batter, I cranked out a basket weave and flowers and were on our happy way to church saying 'never again'.
Fast forward another year and some change and we were preparing for a Memorial day BBQ. I asked my friend what I could bring and he asked if I could just bring a small gluten free dessert for our dear friend who's birthday was the next day. Absolutley! We can do that. So I thought to myself...do I insist Chef Ben makes it, or do I make peace with the flourless cake recipe?
Now, let me tell you, I approached the cake in an entirely different way. I refused to be stressed about time, I played music I could sing and dance along to, and I enlisted a lil' helper to keep it fun! This made all the difference in the world. By the way, I also discover in the staging phase of this recipe that all of my baking and decorating tools had been packed away except 2- 8" cake pans and a #2 piping tip (no coupler, no bag). So this cake was made with butterknives, a fork, a hand whisk (no mixer), some wax paper and cooking spray. Voila! Delicious flourless chocolate birthday cake! Redemption is mine!
Flourless Chocolate Cake
Cake Ingredients (for x2 8" cake layers)
1 cup of chocolate chips or chunks (Callebaut is our recommended chocolate)
1 cup unsalted butter (we use sticks of Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks) *Can use regular unsalted butter if non-dairy is not a requirement for you.
1 1/2 sups granulated sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Vanilla Extract (while Chef Ben now makes his own vanilla extract, we prefer Nielsen Massey's Madagascar Vanilla for off the shelf vanilla - but any pure vanilla extract will work)
6 Large eggs (slightly beaten)
1 cup cocoa powder (Dutch process or dark cocoa preferably. We use Cacao Berry Extra Brut)
Preheat oven to 350 (convection) or 375 bake
Line your cake pan with cooking spray, then wax or parchment paper (I press into the edges and use a small knife to cut so I'm left with a perfect circle liner at the bottom of the pan), then spray again.
Melt chocolate and butter together, double boiler style or in the microwave. Stir together.
Add sugar, salt, vanilla and stir until combined.
Add the eggs and stir until smooth.
Add the cocoa powder and stir until combined (be sure there are no clumps of cocoa).
Pour into your cake pans and bake until a thin crust forms on the top or a quick read thermometer reads about 210 degrees. I baked two pans on 350 convention for about 30 minutes.
2 cups of chocolate chips or chunks (Callebaut is our recommended chocolate)
1/4 cup unsalted butter (we use sticks of Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks) *Can use regular unsalted butter if non-dairy is not a requirement for you.
1 cup heavy cream (if you only have milk, use milk)
2 tbs Vanilla Extract (while Chef Ben now makes his own vanilla extract, we prefer Nielsen Massey's Madagascar Vanilla for off the shelf vanilla - but any pure vanilla extract will work)
Melt the butter and milk together in microwave or on stove. Add the chocolate and stir until melted and combined. If you need to heat some more to melt all of chocolate, do so a little at a time.
Stir in vanilla
Once your cakes are done, cut around the edges so they don't stick and remove from pan to cool.
Once cake is cooled, you can fill with fresh fruit and ganache or if you have a frosting made that you would like to fill with, that works to. If you cut the recipe in half, you can just place the single layer on a plate and pour with ganache and top with fruit!
*If you are going to fill the cake with ganache, be sure you set 1/3 of the ganache in the fridge to cool and become spreadable.
**When you pour the ganache over the top, be sure it's very warm and runny so it will pour evenly and not clump. Refrigerate and serve!