I’ve loved cooking for years, but I’ve never been a baker. But because I’ve been in a bit of a DIY mood lately, and it was my girl’s birthday last week, I thought I’d bake her a cake rather than buying one like I usually do. Unfortunately I was more focused on the doing and not as much on the documenting, so I didn’t take very good photos of any of the foodie things I made her for her birthday – the best pancakes I’ve ever made, served with fresh fruit, fresh juice and coffee, or this tiny little cake. So I need to use a little photographic license and take a photo of the picture in the cookbook instead (copyright gurus take note – I am in no way trying to pass this header photo off as mine!). My cake looked … similar. A little flatter as I am new to this whole flourless cake business and I think my egg whipping technique could do with some improvement, but overall I think I did pretty well!
I’ve been a bit obsessed with the Smitten Kitchen cookbook of late, and this is one of her recipes. I didn’t set out to make a gluten free flourless cake, but this one is just that. Delicious, rich, light, and made almost entirely of chocolate, eggs, and sugar. It’s easier than you think it will be – just read the recipe before you start, get everything you need together, and go forward with confidence!
Tiny but Intense Chocolate Cake
85 g butter
115 g semisweet chocolate
3 large eggs, separated
1/3 cup (65g) light brown sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp fine or flaky sea salt
Pinch of cinnamon
Raspberries and whipping cream for serving
Preheat your oven to 175 degrees. Line a 6 inch springform pan with a circle of baking paper and butter the sides of the pan and the paper round.
In a small saucepan, melt your butter over a medium heat, stirring regularly. Remove from the heat and stir through your chocolate until it is all melted and smooth. Cool to lukewarm.
In a mixmaster, beat egg yolks, brown sugar and vanilla together until they turn a yellowish brown colour. Slowly beat in the lukewarm chocolate mixture and the mixture will thicken and become a lovely chocolate brown colour. It may seem a bit too thick at this point, but it will loosen when you add the egg whites.
Clean your beaters and in a separate bowl beat the egg whites and salt until firm peaks form. This is where I went a little awry! I put the beaters on a slow speed and it took FOREVER!! As soon as I sped the beaters right up, the egg whites whipped into glorious peaks in no time. Add your cinnamon.
Stir one third of your egg whites through the chocolate mix. This will loosen it from the thick mixture you created earlier. Gently fold through the remaining two thirds, trying not to lose any of the air and lightness in the eggs. After having done this once, I feel like I know where I would improve it next time so don’t worry too much if you are also a baking novice and don’t quite get this right. It’s just the way you fold the egg whites through rather than stirring – and I’m sure it comes with practice! It’s at the very least a great excuse to make another cake for someone special.
Pour into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until a knife comes out clean or with only a few crumbs. It will have a domed top which will start to deflate almost immediately.
Let cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edges to make sure it’s not stuck and release the springform sides. Let it cool completely on the base. Once it is cool, remove the parchment bottom, place on a serving plate and dust with icing sugar.
Whip 1/2 cup of cream and dollop on top of the cake, topping it with fresh raspberries – and in my case, birthday candles!