Flourless Chocolate Cake
This particular dessert looks good, tastes great, and is quite easy to make. In truth, it has more the appearance of a brownie, and if you take the extra step to turn it over after you remove it from the pan, it will have that shiny and slightly crusty look that you associate with brownies. My next ‘experiment’ is to add chopped pecans, cut it in squares, and call it a flourless brownie. The texture can be quite fudgy, which most people like. The more air you beat into the eggs, the higher and lighter it will cook, though it settles down fairly quickly.
1 cup (170g) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips (I use Guittard bittersweet)
1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter
3/4 cup (149g) granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-2 teaspoons espresso powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
3 large eggs
1/2 cup (43g) Dutch process cocoa powder
Preheat the oven to 375 deg. Lightly grease a metal 8″ round cake pan; cut a piece of parchment to fit, grease it, and lay it in the bottom of the pan.
Place the sugar, salt, and expresso powder in a bowl, and whisk to combine. Add the vanilla extract or paste. Put aside.
In another bowl, beat the eggs until smooth (the more air you incorporate the higher your finished cake will tend to be). Put aside.
Put the chocolate and butter in a sauce pan (I use a 1-1/2 quart saucier), and put the pan over very low heat. Stir as the butter and chocolate melt, and keep stirring until they are combined and smooth.
Pour the chocolate and butter into a medium sized mixing bowl. Add the dry ingredients and vanilla and stir until the dry ingredients are incorporated.
Add the eggs, beating briefly until the batter is smooth.
Add the cocoa powder and mix just to combine.
Spoon the batter into the prepared cake pan, put it in the oven, level it, and bake for 25 minutes, or until an instant read thermometer registers 200 deg.
Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes.
Loosen the edges of the pan with a table knife or small spatula, then turn the cake out onto a plate. If the parchment comes out with the cake, remove it. Allow the cake to cool before serving.
The cake can be cut into wedges of the desired size. Depending on your preferred presentation, you can also use a cookie cutter to make smaller round cakes, square cakes, or whatever.
Top with a dusting of powdered sugar, whipped cream, fruit, or any combination thereof. You can also top with your favorite ice cream. The cake makes a very adaptable canvas to work with. And, if you cut out smaller pieces for serving, the scraps can be cut or chopped, let them dry out a bit, and use them as a chocolate crumble on ic cream or something else.
For those into digestives and other after-dinner drinks, it pairs beautifully with a good brandy or maybe Kahlua or other coffee liqueur; or you can go to something with a taste that complements whatever topping you’ve put on the cake, itself.