Yesterday I used Amul’s relatively new bitter chocolate bar (75%) to make a small batch of flourless chocolate cake. Now I’m sure you know, flourless cakes aren’t quite the doddle they’re made out to be. You must fold carefully at every stage so as to not deflate any of that precious air you’ve packed in, and even after baking my fair share of tiered beauties, I still feel that twinge of nervousness when I scrape this batter into the cake pan.
A good flourless chocolate cake must have the texture of cake that seems to melt the moment you taste it-really, that’s how light you want it to be, which is why in the absence of baking powder or soda -your leavening friends-you must depend on the lift from the egg whites and the whipped cream.
If you’re a complete chocolate fiend, you’ll be smitten by just how chocolatey this cake can be. The cake is baked in a bain marie to ensure that the consistency is somewhere between dense cake and luxurious pudding. I’ve also used the new cocoa powder by Jindal Cocoa because it’s good quality and way better than the loose packets I usually opt for when at Arife. The trick to getting this cake right is to slightly under-bake it. A cake tester shouldn’t come out sparkling clean, maybe with a thin line of chocolate. If it’s clean, you’ve over-baked it. If made well, this flourless torte will not sink as much, and will have a gooey, almost-molten centre. Since the cake is so beautifully bittersweet, rich sweet custard goes very well with it, but you don’t have some, serve with vanilla ice cream.
Flourless Chocolate Cake In A Bain Marie
Yield makes 1 7-inch cake
Baking this chocolate cake in a Bain Marie results in a rich texture that’s something of a cross between a dense cake and a very light pudding. The centre is almost-molten and best left slightly under-baked for a fudgy result.
Bitter chocolate 185g, chopped (I used Amul)
Dark Rum 1 1/2 tbsp (I used Old Monk)
Just-Brewed strong coffee 50ml
Milk 3 tbsp, warm
Eggs 4, separated
Caster sugar 100g
Dairy cream 75ml
Cocoa powder 35g (I used Jindal Cocoa powder)
Vanilla extract 1 1/2 tsp
Line the bottom of a 7-inch springform cake pan with baking paper. Prepare for the Bain Marie by putting a tray at the bottom of the oven and preheat the oven to 130 degrees Celsius. We want to bake this cake low and slow because it’s quite gentle. Put a kettle of water to heat and begin.
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in 10-15 second spurts in a microwave oven until the chocolate is luxuriously smooth. Then, add in the rum and the coffee and stir. If the chocolate seizes up, keep stirring while splashing in little by little of the warm milk until the chocolate is smooth once again. Set aside.
In another bowl, add in the yolks, vanilla and the sugar and using an electric hand-mixer, beat these together till it is thick, pale and looks creamy- sabayon consistency.
Beat the egg whites in yet another bowl with the hand-mixer low at first and faster as you go till the egg whites have tripled in volume and hold stiff peaks.
Add a third of the egg whites to the yolk mixture with a third of the chocolate mixture and fold everything in with a light hand using a spatula. Do this two more times till all the egg whites and the chocolate mixture has been used.
Whip the dairy cream over an ice bath till almost-stiff. Sift over the cocoa powder, and finally again with a light hand fold everything together.
Carefully pour this mixture into the cake pan and place inside the roasting tin. Pour the hot water from the kettle into the roasting tray and let it the cake bake in this Bain Marie for 35-40 minutes. A skewer inserted into the centre of the cake should not come out completely clean but with a wee bit of the chocolate mixture.
Once the cake is done, take the entire Bain Marie setting out, cake and all, mitts on and carefully place on a counter where you should let it cool like this inside the Bain marie for 15 minutes before taking the cake out and letting it cool completely.
Serve with custard or vanilla ice cream.