So funny story…
Three years ago, I decided I would make Branden a flourless chocolate cake for his birthday. It was delicious so the next year, I decided to make it again. One problem: where did I put the recipe? I thought I found it, but as I began baking the cake, I realized the recipe was actually different. This cake was also good and I made sure to remember where I got the recipe from…or so I thought. I kid you not, I actually found a THIRD recipe for flourless chocolate cake in my cookbook collection that I thought was the one from the prior year (or even the first year), but it was indeed different which became obvious when I started combining the ingredients.
So the track record remains that every year I make flourless chocolate cake for Branden’s birthday and every year its a slightly different variation. Don’t ask me for the other versions because I still have no idea where those recipes are but I do know where this once came from! This year’s is brought to us by Williams-Sonoma’s Baking cookbook.
Just like the other cakes I’ve made, this one was moist, dense, and packed plenty of chocolate flavor. Unlike other recipes I’ve tried in the past, this one uses almonds that are ground into a flour. I’m normally against nuts in my chocolate not because I don’t like nuts (I happen to really love all varieties of nuts), but I’m a purest when it comes to chocolate– don’t mess with a good thing by tainting it with nuts. That being said, the almond “flour” in this cake helped the cake maintain some moisture and gave it a little extra boost of flavor. Be careful though, it is not obvious that there are nuts in this cake (visual or taste), so make sure that those you serve it to are aware of the nuts in case they have food allergies!
- 1/2 c. walnuts or whole, unblanched almonds
- 1/2 c. granulated sugar
- 5 oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 5 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1/2 c. unsalted butter
- 8 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
- Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
- Whipped Cream (see my recipe below)
- Position a rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat to 300°F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper cut to fit. In a food processor or blender, process together the nuts and granulated sugar until powdery.
- Place the chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler placed over (not touching) barely simmering water. Heat, stirring often, until the butter and chocolate melt. Remove from over the water.
- In a bowl, using a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment or a hand mixer, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form.
- Whisk the egg whites into the chocolate. Using a rubber spatula, stir one-fourth of the whites into the chocolate mixture. Gently fold in the ground nut mixture. Add the remaining egg whites, folding gently and thoroughly. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, using the spatula to scrape all of it into the pan.
- Bake the cake until it puffs up a little and jiggles only very slightly when the pan is gently shaken, 30-35 minutes. If the center looks soupy, bake for another 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan for 3 minutes, then release and lift off the pan side. Using an icing spatula, gently slide the cake from the bottom of the pan onto a cardboard cake circle or serving plate. Be careful, as the cake is very fragile when warm. Place on a rack and let cool completely. Cover the cake with a clean, slightly damp kitchen towel so that the outside does not dry out as it cools.
- Using a fine-mesh sieve, dust the top of the cooled cake with confectioners’ sugar. Serve each slice with a dollop of whipped cream, if desired. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 day.
Lauren’s Whipped Cream: Word of warning – I usually do this by taste, so don’t be afraid to change it to meet your liking
In a mixer, whip together two cups of heavy whipping cream, 1/8 cup of granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon of vanilla until soft peaks form. Serve immediately. Looking to liven it up a bit? Add a tablespoon of Grand Marnier instead of vanilla!