I love sweets. I come from a long line of people who carry the dreaded sweet tooth gene, so it isn’t my fault. My Grandma always hid her “fancy” chocolates in the back of the top shelf of her closet, and when I was particularly good, she’d tell me to get it down and we’d indulge. I remember my Dad bringing us to the State Fair and suddenly showing up with cotton candy in hand. My Mom cannot say no to pie, or a turtle sundae.
A friend had a birthday recently and her sister invited us all to a beautiful cooking class at Pine Point Cooking School in Sausalito to celebrate. We made a fabulous dinner, and for dessert, we made a sublime “Almost Flourless Chocolate Cake.”
The whole night was fun. We made wonderful new recipes I had never tried, I learned lots of new techniques and the setting was lovely. Adrianna, who runs the school out of her home also hosts summer cooking camps for kids. Our 12-year-old niece went this month and it was her favorite experience of the entire summer. They made homemade pasta, tiramisu, pizza and Spanakopita, just to name a few dishes.
Since my class, I have made the cake several times. It’s easy and quick and only requires a handful of ingredients. I have written about a decadent Red Wine Chocolate Cake, which is also fabulous, but this has no alcohol and is perfect for chocolate purists. It also is not overly sweet, just light and super chocolatey. Here is the recipe from our class:
Almost Flourless Chocolate Cake
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I use Scharffen Berger)
6 ounces (3/4 cup) unsalted butter
5 large eggs at room temperature
1 cup sugar, divided into 2/3 cup and 1/3 cup
3 Tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour or cake flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Confectioner’s sugar and cocoa
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a 9′ cake pan with parchment paper.
Melt the chocolate with the butter in a heavy pan or bain marie over a low heat. (We learned to sort of shave the chocolate as seen in the photo above.) Whisk together when melted and remove from the heat. Cool slightly. Whisk in 2/3 cup sugar, the flour and salt.
Separate the eggs, putting the whites into the bowl of your electric mixer and the yolks into a wide, large bowl. Beat the whites until foamy on a low setting and slowly start adding the 1/3 cup remaining sugar. Beat on a high setting until stiff but not dry (soft peaks). Add the partially cooled chocolate mixture slowly to the egg yolks by tempering the mixture (add a small amount of chocolate to the eggs, gradually increasing the additions until the yolks are warm). Then add the rest of the chocolate to the egg mixture and stir.
Using a spatula, fold 1/3 of the whites into the yolk/chocolate mixture. When fully incorporated, add the rest of the whites and fold to incorporate. Pour the batter gently into the cake pan and bake until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean or almost clean (35 minutes). Cool cake on a rack.
When cool, run a thin knife around the edge and invert on a cake rack and remove the pan. Peel off the parchment. invert again onto a flat dish. Dust the cake with confectioner’s sugar. Place a small metal mold or plastic lid/dish (it must be lightweight) in the middle. Dust with cocoa. Gently remove the mold/dish/lid. This cake can stay for hours on the counter and only improve with flavor, or serve the next day (cover with washed paper overnight. Do not refrigerate.) It only improves with time!
I made this cake the other night for friends and I think I overbeat the egg whites a bit too much. The cake was really good, but ugly. Very crumbly, so I’ll need to watch that in the future.
I think this little beauty is simple and just wonderful. If you give it a go let me know what you think.
A few links from the world wide web I hope you enjoy:
My Mom sent me a link to this dog video and I had to get out the Kleenex.
A recipe I am dying to try for Roasted Caprese Tartine and a lovely poem about a memory of Italy.
Recipe for a tomato tart.
Do you adore Caprese salads like I do? How about peach and a strawberry Caprese? Yes please. These recipes come from the beautifully done Tublr created by former New York food photographer, Erin Gleeson. All the lovely photos are hers.
I cannot stop thinking about peaches, and here’s another pie recipe that looks wonderful. I’ve never made a lattice top pie, but it doesn’t look impossible.
We just returned from a wonderful trip to Nashville with our 7 year-old grandson. I didn’t get my fill of country music, despite the over-abundance of talent on display in that town. Here’s brilliant Emmylou Harris singing Tulsa Queen.
“Women Aging Gracefully in Front of the Camera.” Heck yeah. I want to see more of these kind of women – older, unique, strong and gorgeous. (Be sure to click through to see all the shots.)
Another take on chocolate cake, from the Smitten Kitchen blog.
A friend of mine and her husband just biked 4,317 miles across the United States in 89 days to help raise awareness and money for Canine Companions for Independence and its Wounded Veterans Initiative. They rode from Washington to Maine – can you imagine? Give her blog a read and maybe you’ll also be inspired to donate.