Flourless Chocolate Cake with Strawberries and Cream

flourless chocolate cake tastefoodStrawberries, Cream, Chocolate…

Or, more precisely, a wedge of luscious silky-rich chocolate cake with billows of  airy cream and sun-kissed strawberries. Parse it as you may, emphasize it as you must, this is one dessert that will please chocoholics and fruity fiends alike.

I made this cake for a crowd last weekend, and it easily served 12 with a few slices to spare. A tiny sliver goes a long way – or maybe not, depending on your inclination. Choose the best quality dark chocolate you can lay your hands on, because it makes all the difference. The gently sugared cream and naturally sweetened strawberries perfectly round out and balance the chocolatey richness, which, naturally,  helps you eat more.

flourless chocolate cake tastefoodThere was, I promise, a bounty of strawberries when I served this cake, but the berry eaters in the group devoured them before I could use the harvest as a photo prop.

Glazed Flourless Chocolate Cake
slightly adapted from a Bon Appetit recipe

Serves 12.

12 ounces dark high quality chocolate (70-72%)
3/4 cup unsalted butter
6 large eggs, separated
12 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup dark corn syrup
4 1/2 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped, plus extra for grating

Whipped cream

Heat oven to 350° F (180 C). Butter a 9-inch diameter springform pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Butter the parchment. Sprinkle with unsweetened cocoa powder and tap out the excess. Wrap the outside of the pan with foil to prevent leakage.

Combine chocolate and butter in a double boiler or heat-proof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir frequently until melted and smooth. Remove from heat.

Beat egg yolks and 6 tablespoons sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment until light and thick, about 3 minutes. Transfer eggs to a large bowl; thoroughly clean and dry mixing bowl and whisk attachment.

Fold the melted chocolate into the egg yolks. Stir in the vanilla. In the clean mixing bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 6 tablespoons sugar until medium-firm peaks form. Fold the whites into the chocolate in 3 additions. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake until top is slightly puffed and cracked and a knife inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs, 40 to 50 minutes. Cool cake completely in pan on a wire rack.

While the cake is cooling, prepare the glaze. Heat cream and syrup in a small saucepan just until it begins to simmer. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and whisk until smooth.

Gently press down on the top of the cake to even thickness. Remove pan side. Invert cake onto a plate. Remove and discard parchment. Pour the glaze over the center of the cake. Spread the glaze over the top and down the sides of the cake, using a flat icing spatula to smooth the glaze. Sprinkle with grated chocolate. Chill in refrigerator until firm, about 10 minutes. Serve at room temperature with whipped cream and fresh strawberries.

More chocolate? If you insist…
Chocolate Chocolate Chunk Muffins from Brown Eyed Baker
Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies from TasteFood
Chocolate Custard Cake from White on Rice Couple
Rich Chocolate Brownies from TasteFood

Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons

coconut macaron tastefood

~ Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons ~

The bane of my childhood candy experience was a Mounds Bar. I just didn’t get it. I would bite into the promising chocolate nugget, which would immediately give way to a chewy, shredded, nutty interior, that in, my opinion, had no rightful place in a chocolate bar. It was clearly the texture that I did not like. I was mystified by my friends who bought super-sized packages of Almond Joys to scarf down when we were at the movies. Every halloween when my brothers and I would pile our loot in the middle of the kitchen table, gloating and eyeing trade-ups, my chocolate covered coconut bars were the first to offer up with no regrets. Sadly, my brothers were not so keen on coconut either, so the negotiating could get ugly.

As a parent, it baffled me that my children loved coconut. But as chief cookie baker, I stepped up to the plate and used coconut more and more freely in bars, cakes, and cookies. And, you know what? I, too, developed a fondness for this tropical “nut”, appreciating it’s flaky fresh and nutty interruption in a sea of sugar. I guess you could say I grew up.

I eat coconut now, unforced, and prefer it paired with dark chocolate. Sometimes I make macaroons, a jumble of coconut bound together with egg white and condensed milk. Yes, the milk is icky-sweet, but it seems to yield the best  juicy soft interior, which is what prevents dryness and distinguishes a great macaroon. I’ve followed a recipe from Ina Garten from time to time, but switch out some of the sweetened coconut with unsweetened, which I find reduces excessiveness cloyness. Oh, and I always dunk them in dark chocolate, of course – which has a magnificent grounding effect on, well, everything.

Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons
Makes about 24

14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
8 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
6 ounces unsweetened shredded coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large egg whites, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 ounces dark (70%) chocolate, melted

Heat the oven to 350°F (180° C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the milk, coconut, and vanilla in a large bowl and stir to blend.
Beat the egg whites and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer until soft peaks form and then fold into the coconut.

Drop heaping tablespoon-sized mounds of coconut on the baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Remove and cool completely on a rack. Dip one half of each macaroon in the melted chocolate and transfer to a board or platter lined with parchment. Refrigerate until set.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Flourless chocolate cake is the little black dress of desserts. Minimal, simple and universally pleasing, this go-to recipe is a classic. With a short list of ingredients, minus any flour,  you can whip this cake up in an hour. It’s a lighter version of my Sinfully Rich Chocolate Cake, which makes it more of an every day cake and a guaranteed hit with children. Serve simply naked or adorned with a dusting of sugar and a scoop of whipped cream.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

With so few ingredients, quality makes a difference. If possible, use a European-style butter such as Lurpak or Plugra and a high quality dark chocolate. I prefer Valrhona or Lindt. Serves 12.

8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
6 eggs, separated
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 300 F. Butter a 9 inch springform pan. Line the bottom with parchment and butter the parchment. Melt the chocolate and butter together in a double boiler over just-simmering water, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl; cool to lukewarm. Whisk in the egg yolks.
Beat egg whites in a bowl of an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add sugar and continue to beat until stiff glossy peaks form. Mix 1/4 of the egg whites into the chocolate. Gently fold in remaining egg whites. Pour into prepared pan and smooth with a spatula. Bake until edges pull away from the pan, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes clean, about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

Sinfully Rich Flourless Chocolate Cake

Sinfully Rich Flourless Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Cake

Short of intravenous therapy, flourless chocolate cake is one of the most intense forms of chocolate consumption you will experience. This decadent cake consists of dark high-quality chocolate held together with butter and eggs, resulting in a dense truffle-like torte. The beauty of the cake lies in the quality its few ingredients. Choose a dark (70-75%) chocolate such as Valrhona or Lindt and a good European-style butter such as Plugra or Lurpak. You will be rewarded with a rich and dreamy chocolate experience, that will leave your tastebuds swooning.

Rich Flourless Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Coulis

Serves 12

For the cake:
1 cup unsalted butter, cut in pieces
12 ounces dark chocolate, broken in pieces
1 cup granulated/caster sugar
6 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the coulis:
16 ounces frozen raspberries
1/2 cup sugar

Whipped cream

To make cake:
Preheat oven to 350 F. (180 C.)
Butter a 9 inch springform pan.  Line with parchment paper.  Butter parchment paper. Melt butter and chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water, stirring until smooth.  Remove from heat and cool to lukewarm. Whisk sugar and eggs together in a large bowl.  Stir in vanilla.  Add chocolate and stir to combine.  Pour batter into prepared pan.  Bake until set and top begins to crack, about 45 minutes. (The center will still be moist.)  Cool cake completely on rack.  Remove pan side.   (Can be made one day in advance.  Cover and refrigerate.)

For coulis:
Stir frozen raspberries and sugar in pan over medium-low heat until raspberries thaw and sugar dissolves.  Remove from heat.  Pass raspberries through fine-meshed sieve to separate seeds from coulis.  Discard seeds.  (Coulis may be made one day in advance.  Store in airtight container and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving.)
To assemble, place cake on a large plate and sprinkle with sifted icing sugar.  Serve with raspberry coulis and whipped cream.