Thursday, 15 August 2013

A new signature dish? Flourless chocolate cake

I'll outline the background to this particular recipe when I fill you in on the latest dinner party club menu... however, having decided that I was on dessert, I turned to a recipe that I have gazed at many many times, but wondered if I would really like.  It is a cross between a chocolate cake and a baked cheesecake from one of Julie Le Clerc's books, and was met with resounding acclaim and requests that I had better blog it IMMEDIATELY!

The other good thing about this recipe is that it is just so easy to make - I had spent the day racing round, fitting in brunch with our cousins from Westport and squeezing in some gardening, and I had never tried the recipe before (potential recipe for disaster).  But no, get all the ingredients out, turn on the oven and off you go...

Flourless chocolate cake
Serves 12

Preheat the oven to 150C (fanbake).  Grease a 22cm springform cake tin and line the base and sides with baking paper.

Vanilla cream
250g cream cheese, softened to room temperature (DON'T for a MOMENT think about using "lite" or reduced fat cream cheese)
2/3 C sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp Heilala vanilla paste

Beat together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add egg and vanilla and beat for another minute until it is combined.  Set aside.

Chocolate batter
150g butter, roughly chopped
300g quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), roughly chopped

Place in a medium size bowl and gently melt together.  This can be done over a small pan of simmering water (which I did) - just make sure that the water is not touching the bowl. Alternatively, zap in the microwave in 30 second bursts. Once it is mostly melted, take the bowl off the pot of water and leave to cool on the bench, stirring from time to time. You want it to be warm, but not scalding hot when you add to the eggs.

3 large eggs
1/3 C sugar
1 tbsp espresso coffee
pinch salt

Place these ingredients in a bowl and whisk together for at least 5 minutes, until they are thick and pale.  Gradually add the slightly cooled chocolate mixture, while continuing to whisk, until combined.

Pour about half the chocolate batter into the prepared pan. Then alternate dollops of the vanilla cream and the chocolate batter across the pan.  Use a medium palette knife to roughly swirl the two together and get a marbled pattern. Give the bowl a gentle shake so that the top of the cake is even, and place in the middle of the oven.

Cook for 45-50 minutes. The top should be slightly crusty, and a skewer inserted into the cake should be a little sticky, but not runny.  I preferred the cake still slightly warm - it keeps overnight in the fridge, but I would warm slightly before serving.

This leads me to another essential kitchen item, the perfect basket for transporting food.  When I bought this, I really didn't know how vital it would be - but if you find a sturdy basket that will fit your most popular baking dishes, just buy it!

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