Sunday, May 29, 2011

Light or Dark: Search for the Perfect Flourless Chocolate Cake

There are two kinds of chocolate people in this world: dark chocolate lovers or milk chocolate lovers.

My daughter is a milk chocolate lover. It started when she was 14 and I took her to New York City where she discovered the Lindt store. Well, when your first introduction to fine milk chocolate is from the most famous purveyor of chocolate in the world, I can understand. But my introduction to milk chocolate came as a Southern California kid who would eat leftover M&Ms out of bowls strewn around the living room the mornings after my parents’ parties and I never cultivated a love for the stuff. Cheap convenience store candy bars like Snickers and Milky Way sealed the deal with my brain that milk chocolate was waxy, mild, and most oftentimes way too sweet to pick up the subtle nuances of mellow milk like the Europeans did it to the pleasure of my daughter’s taste buds. Ruined me for life and I grew up loving the darkest and most bitter bars.

My favorite dark chocolate desserts are ganache, flourless chocolate cake and Mexican spicy hot cocoa. I am forever on the search for the perfect versions of these three.

Flourless chocolate cake, when it’s being touted as organic and healthy, can be bliss. When made with applesauce as the wetness, it can be a downright dense and moist dream.  When made on the sinful side it can pack the same punch as my favorite ganache. 

I recently found a version at Il Sogno that, although had a bit of milk in is as well, sings to me. A perfectly round disk, baked to multiple layer perfection is topped with a fluffy pile of shaved dark chocolate. It is then served with a plain, fresh and thick pile of whipped cream that tastes more like cream than sugar. Bite after bite, I taste mostly a subtle hint of milk, followed by a mellow sweetness that’s not too heavy and not too sweet. And the portion is perfect to coincide with one of their gargantuan cups of cappuccino.

Below is a recipe I found that comes closest to the same taste.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

1 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
1 stick unsalted butter*
9 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
2 cups heavy cream, cold
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch spring form pan.

Put the chocolate and butter into the top of a double boiler (or in a heatproof bowl) and heat over (but not touching) about 1 inch of simmering water until melted. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a mixing bowl until light yellow in color. Whisk a little of the chocolate mixture into the egg yolk mixture to temper the eggs - this will keep the eggs from scrambling from the heat of the chocolate - then whisk in the rest of the chocolate mixture.

Beat the egg whites in a mixing bowl until stiff peaks form and fold into the chocolate mixture. Pour into the prepared pan and bake until the cake is set, the top starts to crack and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out with moist crumbs clinging to it, 20 to 25 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes, and then remove sides of pan.

While the cake is cooking, whip the cream until it becomes light and fluffy.

Serve at room temperature dusted with confectioners' sugar and topped with whipped cream. 

* Use a traditional full size stick of butter

1 comment:

  1. Dark chocolate, Kimmy! Dark dark dark dark dark chocolate. High cocoa content. More cocoa, less sugar.