Saturday, June 13, 2009

Flourless Chocolate Decadence

My father in-law's birthday made me wonder something.  It made me wonder about cakes and birthdays.  More specifically, it made me wonder if we have to eat cake on our birthdays.  I think plenty of people probably don't, which I think is fine, but I still love cakes on birthdays.  

I am also always curious to ask people what kind of cake they would like me to make them on their birthday and see what they choose.  Of course, you don't have to choose a cake, I'm realizing.  Perhaps I should branch out a bit more with my birthday offerings.  What would people want, if they could have any dessert in the world, on their birthdays?  This I am curious to find out.  

And, although I almost ended up making my father in law an apple pie, which he almost requested  (is this okay? I wondered as he pondered the merits of eating apples in early June), this time, I didn't.  Not that I would have minded.  I mean, I wasn't exactly alarmed at the thought of baking apples in June, but lets just say I'm still warming up to the idea of a non-cake birthday.  

Thankfully, my father in law decided that early June was probably not "seasonable," and requested "gooey chocolate" instead.  Perhaps he could hear my heart rate going up.

In any case, with a pound of chocolate, this cake is very chocolately, but also very light.  You could eat it in a bowl with a spoon, and it goes very nicely with vanilla ice-cream, which is how we ate it.  Or, you could just make the individual version, which I have included below, and which I like a little bit better.  Not really appropriate for celebrating a birthday where you might need to share with lots of people, but hey, if it's your birthday, you can have anything you want.  

Whatever the case, I have a birthday coming up soon (okay, not until August, but I'm kind of an early planner).  Usually I request one from my typical list of birthday cakes:  coconut, ice-cream, German chocolate, or carrot.  But who knows?  This year I might branch out.  And if not, I hope some people will request some non-cakes for their birthdays in the future.  Until then, here is one more birthday cake to add to the list.  The name alone implies it is fit for a birthday, celebrating the decadence of another year.  

Flourless Chocolate Decadence

This cake is perfect for those who are gluten-free, or those who want to have a dessert that is both ready ahead of time and one that just came out of the oven.  You can freeze the cake after you make and pop it in the oven a little before you want to serve it.  The recipe comes from the 75th anniversary edition of The Joy of Cooking, which my husband's parents own but I don't.  My older copy, one I bought several years ago at a small second hand store in New Orleans, is from the 70s and lacks many of the recipes that the new ones contain.  The Joy of Cooking calls for this cake to be served cold, but I served it warm straight from the oven.  Next to this recipe is one for individual cakes served warm, and I find this recipe more endearing due to the individual sizes of the little cakes.  Serve either one with any combination of whipped cream, vanilla ice-cream, or the raspberry sauce recipe (also from The Joy of Cooking and the one they recommend serving with this cake) that follows.  

1 lb semisweet or bittersweet chocolate 
10 T butter (1 1/4 sticks)
5 eggs, separated
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 T sugar
Confectioner's sugar (optional)

1.  Butter and flour an 8 inch cake pan.
2.  In the top of a double boiler, melt the butter and chocolate together, mixing until smooth.  Remove from heat. 
3.  Add the 5 egg yolks to the chocolate mixture and whisk until smooth. 
4.  In a separate bowl, beat the 5 egg whites until soft peaks form.  Add the cream of tartar and beat until stiff, but not dry, peaks form.  
5.  Fold about 1/4 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture.  Then fold in the rest.  
6.  Pour batter into prepared pan and bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes.  
7.  Refrigerate until cold.  

Bake for 40 minutes instead and eat warm.  The gooey chocolate center will delight you.  

Raspberry Sauce

12 oz fresh or frozen raspberries
1 T sugar or more, to taste
2 tsp lemon

Individual Molten Chocolate Cakelets 
or "Molten Chocolate Cakes" in The Joy of Cooking's 75th Anniversary Edition

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  

2.  Butter and flour 8 muffin cups

3.  In a double boiler, melt 6 oz bitter or semisweet chocolate, chopped and ¾ stick butter.

4.  Remove from heat and sift in ¼ c unsifted cocoa.  Stir until smooth.

5.  In a medium bowl, beat 4 large egg whites and 1/8 tsp cream of tartar until soft peaks form.

6.  Gradually add 2 T sugar and beat until whites are stiff but not dry.

7.  Fold ¼ egg whites into chocolate mixture, then the rest.

8.  Fill each muffin cup ¾ full and bake until cracked on top but gooey in center, about 7-8 minutes.

9.  Let sit 2-3 min until the cakelets shrink from sides of muffin cups.  

*You can also freeze these after you fill the muffin cups.  Remove from freezer just before you are ready to bake them and bake for about 1 minute longer.  


Brewfus said...

A permit should be required when handling that much chocolate. Mmm...

Green Bean said...

Looks fantabulous!

rissykay99 said...


I failed at life and forgot to take a photo of the heavenly Chocolate Toffee cookies I made this past weekend, but this post brings them to mind.

I also always want cake for my birthday. I understand why some wouldn't, but I don't think I'll ever change.

Hannah said...

I've never made one of these! I should try it soon.

Almost Precious said...

I really, really, really should try this one as my hubby loves the chocolate lava cake dessert that the Charthouse restaurants serve. But think the last cake I baked was back about 20 years ago. If I attempt it I think I'll need a few prayers and a whole lot of luck. ;)
ps: re John's UFO workshop space...yes the guys all dream of their "man space" much like the gals dream about their perfect kitchen or craft room. :)

claire said...

Hi elena! i wasn't sure where to "comment" but....
Gourmet Magazine has an online exclusive of their best cookie recipies from 1941- 2008! There are some classics, and it definetly makes you glad to have an electric mixer ( making macaroons with nothing but a wodden spoon?) I totally thought of you and when you get a chance between moving check it out.


Estrella said...

Looks great!! want some, you know , when there is a birthday in my home theres have to be cake, other way its not a birthday!! love cake!