Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Flourless Chocolate Cake
When the Engineer and I got married, we had to consider many dietary restrictions. Some of our guests were lactose-intolerant (including me), some had nut and peanut allergies, some were gluten intolerant, and finally some kept kosher and preferred not to eat dairy after the meat at the main course. I had my heart set on a red velvet cake with marzipan topping for the wedding cake (so dairy, nuts and gluten in one big lovely package, even in my new recipe), but I also wanted a dessert that everyone could enjoy. We did find a great company that makes nut-free and dairy-free food, but their cakes do contain gluten. We decided we didn’t want to add a third kind of cake for the gluten-intolerant, so I set out to find a recipe that would suit everyone and be good enough for a wedding. It was this cake. I made six and froze them ahead of time for the wedding.
(In the past year, I’ve started reading Orangette, Molly Wizenberg’s blog. It turns out that on her wedding day, she made something very similar. Since she practically walks on water as far as I am concerned, I was very happy to see that we independently came to similar conclusions.)
On our wedding day, we called it “free cake”, because of all the things it did not contain (dairy-free, nut-free and gluten-free). However, I’ve since realized that if you serve something and present it as a “free cake” or a “gluten-free cake”, most people won’t even want to try it, because they assume it’s somehow defective. If you call it a “flourless chocolate cake”, it automatically sounds better (even though it’s the exact same cake).
4 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
½ cup dairy-free margarine
¾ cup sugar
½ cup cocoa powder
3 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat the oven to 300 °F. Grease a 9-inch round springform pan. Line the bottom with waxed paper and grease again. Dust with cocoa powder. (The reason for the cocoa powder instead of the flour here is twofold. One, you don’t want white streaks on a chocolate cake, so cocoa is better because it will disappear in the batter. And two, if you’re baking gluten-free, don’t go smearing your gluten-free cake with gluten!)
Melt the chocolate and margarine together.
Stir in the sugar, cocoa powder, eggs and vanilla.
Pour into the prepared pan.
Bake for about 30 minutes (for a gooey center) up to 60 minutes (to have it cooked through; it is easier to unmold and handle that way, and you also don’t have to worry about raw eggs if anyone having the cake is pregnant).
Let cool in pan 20 minutes, then unmold and cool completely. (This means: gently slide a knife along the edge of the pan to loosen the cake and remove said edge; flip the cake over on a plate and gently remove the bottom of the pan along with the paper; then flip the cake onto a presentation plate OR a rack to cool completely and then slide it onto the presentation plate.)
Slices can be reheated 20-30 seconds in the microwave before serving.