A Decadent Chocolate Birthday Cake
One of the things that gives me great pleasure in life is to bake Birthday cakes for my friends. I usually like to make something that I know they love or that I feel suits them best.
Yesterday I had the chance to celebrate a dear friend by way of cake. This particular birthday girl is awesome: elegant and dark, mysterious and witty. And so yes, the cake had to somehow resemble all that. She’s also gluten intolerant and an avid chocolate lover, so I decided to make a decadent chocolate cake that uses no flour. This cake is pretty rich, so if you make it, I advise you slice it thinner than you would a regular cake.
I made chocolate shards to decorate it and used a handful of raspberries and a couple of mint leaves, just so as to further bring out the chocolate taste. However, this cake is just as good served plain, if you’re not in the mood for decorations.
A couple of technicalities: baking time can vary greatly depending on your oven, from 55 minutes to 1hr and 20 minutes, so you will need to check by inserting a skewer in the center of the cake every 5 minutes after the first 55. The cake is done when the skewer emerges almost clean, with just a couple of crumbs on it. The cake will inflate in the oven and chances are it will deflate after you remove it, which is absolutely fine, so don’t worry. Also, you might want to cover the cake with tin foil if you sense a burnt smell after the first 45 minutes in the oven, but it’s not necessary.
Since I brought the cake over at the restaurant as a surprise, there are sadly no photos of the sliced cake. Had there been at least one, you would have seen an intensely dark chocolate cake with a dense and moist interior and with a slightly harder cake-like crust.
Decadent Flourless Chocolate Cake
450gr/16 oz. dark chocolate, min 70% cocoa solids
200gr/1 cup organic light brown sugar
100gr/1/2 cup organic golden granulated sugar
150ml/3/4 cup very hot espresso (or strong coffee)
226gr/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
8 large free-range eggs, at room temperature
1 Tblsp pure vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 180C/350F. Prepare a 20cm/10in Springform pan by lining the bottom with a circle of buttered parchment. Break up the chocolate into pieces and put in the bowl of your blender or food processor. Blend or pulse until the chocolate breaks into very small bits. Next, add the sugar and blend or pulse until it becomes sandy. Pour the hot water or coffee slowly over the chocolate and the sugar and blend until the chocolate is melted. Next add the butter pieces and the cocoa powder, and blend until well combined. Add the eggs and the vanilla, and blend until smooth. If using a blender, you will need to mix everything with a spatula and then blend until the batter becomes creamy.
Pour the batter into your prepared Springform pan and bake in the centre of the oven for about 55 – 65 minutes. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack, then refrigerate for at least three hours before serving. To decorate, simply top with fresh raspberries, mint leaves and chocolate shards, if you like.
Adapted from here
100gr/3,5 oz. dark chocolate, min 70% cocoa solids, broken into pieces
1/4 tsp unsalted butter
In a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stir the chocolate and the butter until almost melted. Remove from the hob and stir with a spatula until completely melted. Place the mixture on a parchment paper and with the aid of a flexible spatula, spread the chocolate into a thin (not see-through) and even layer. Cover with another sheet of parchment paper and gently roll into a cylinder, smoothing out any bubbles. Place in the fridge for at least one hour. When ready to use, unroll the paper; the shards will break as you will unroll the paper.