Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Flourless Chocolate Espresso Cake

Get ready, all you gluten-free people (Kaz I'm talking to you!)  I finally have a recipe - and a dessert, nonetheless - that actually doesn't revolve around some sort of a wheat product.  A few weeks ago, Kenzie's friend Jane came over with her husband Matty; they were visiting from New Zealand so it was a special occasion!  I made my absolutely amazing black beans and coconut-lime rice for lunch (everyone loved it!!!! I forget sometimes how great that meal is) and decided to try my hand at a gluten-free dessert as well.  When my mom's Martha Stewart magazine just happened to have a recipe for a flourless chocolate espresso cake in it, I knew that was the one I'd try.

The process felt pretty similar to making the cake part of baked Alaska; you beat egg yolks and sugar to make a thick paste, and then add melted chocolate, vanilla and espresso powder.  Then you separately beat the egg whites with more sugar, and fold the 2 mixtures together.  Voila: you have your cake batter.  It's light and fluffy and you can hardly believe it is going to turn into a cake.   But it does; it bakes into this crazy beautiful chocolate cake with cracks running down the center (don't worry; even Martha's has cracks!).  

And then once you eat it?!  Sooo good.  It's fudge and chocolatey and no one would ever guess it's flourless.  In fact, Jane's brother Max (also visiting, home from the Marines - and friends with Rachael) came over and had a piece.  He was whining before he ate it about hating all gluten-free food, but even he had to admit it was really good.  

So even though I started this post with a call to action for all the gluten free friends out there, I guess this is really a cake for anyone!


flourless chocolate espresso cake
from Martha Stewart Living September 2013
serves 8

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for cake pan
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, preferably 70% cacao, chopped
6 large eggs, separated, room temperature
1 cup sugar, divided
3 tablespoons instant espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
whipped cream, for garnishing


1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Invert bottom of a 9-inch springform pan (so cake will slide easily onto serving plate) and line with parchment paper; butter parchment.  Melt butter and chocolate, stirring until smooth, in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water.

2) Beat together egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed until thick and pale, about 3 minutes.  Add espresso powder and salt; beat until combined, about 1 minute.  Add vanilla and melted chocolate mixture; beat about 1 minute more.

3) In another bowl, beat egg whites on medium-high speed until foamy.  Increase speed to high; gradually add remaining 1/2 cup sugar, beating until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes.  Fold into chocolate mixture in 3 batches.  Transfer batter to pan and bake until set; 40 - 45 minutes.  Let cake cool completely in pan on a wire rack.  Remove side of pan; transfer cake to a serving plate.  Garnish with whipped cream.

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