A while ago twitter was all abuzz about a passover potluck and it sounded amazing. I wanted in and immediately started to plan my Seder challenge meal with the salt of the plate by creating a Flourless Chocolate Cake with Salted Caramel Drizzle. I immediately emailed Cara saying I was in and what I was bringing; she has a great description of the meaning of the Seder plate over on her blog if you want to learn more (after all, Knowledge is Power!). I ended up (sadly) missing Cara’s Seder potluck, but I still made the cake because, regardless, we all need a little more chocolate in our lives, right? Then I searched for my flourless chocolate cake recipe – which is sort of like trying to find a needle in a haystack (my loose recipes are about 6″ of stacked paper and in no semblance of order… someday I’ll work on that).
The recipe I wanted was a symphony to dark chocolate – a pound of chocolate, espresso, eggs, butter, and sugar in a single bowl mixed. So Simple and So Delicious. I love rich, dark, chocolate decadence but I can only take it in small portions so I make this cake once or twice a year, if I’m even motivated for that. I have friends who can’t “do” gluten so I try to accomodate them, and most of the time succeed, which is how I came to hunt for this particular gem in the first place. I know two people that should avoid the binder that we all know and love and it is with them in mind that I try to go “gluten free” occassionally here on the blog.
Now, this cake; the first time I made it was with a lovely raspberry coulis that was bright and tangy to cut the richness of the cake. This time I made a dark, intense caramel that married with the flavors of the cake in an entirely different way, making each bite more decadent than the last. It’s quite a lot like eating a well-made candy bar, but without the hassle of having to bite on the chocolate; this cake just melts away, leaving you with an urge for a big glass of milk or some sharp and well-spiced tea.
Kathy’s Flourless Chocolate Cake with Salted Caramel Drizzle
Note: This cake is rich and dense; plan to eat small pieces of it at a time. Having a sauce to drizzle over it makes it less intensely rich. I also have a tendency to use the darkest chocolate I can find without it being unsweetened so if you used something less dark, it could be less rich. Either way, it’s delicious in a celebratory way, and it’s surprisingly quick to mix but takes some time to cook.
Flourless Chocolate Cake
1 lb of semi-sweet chocolate, chopped into coarse hunks (I recommend at least 55% cocoa since this really needs the fat)
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup espresso
16 Tbs (2 sticks) butter, softened and cut into 1 Tbs pieces
2 Tbs cocoa powder
1 Tbs vanilla
Preheat your oven to 350 and grease a 9″ springform pan with butter. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. In the large bowl of a food processor, pulse your chocolate until it is a coarse crumb texture – this take about a minute. Add the sugars and pulse until everything is an even, sandy texture. Turn the food processor on and gently stream in the HOT espresso; this will melt the butter and allow the whole thing to come together. Allow this to run for a couple of minutes to make sure it’s smooth and the chocolate is fully melted. Add the cocoa powder, then the butter pieces one at a time to the running food processor. Process until smooth and fully incorporated – about 30 seconds. Add the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, pulsing the FP between each egg to incorporate them fully. Pour the mixture into the lined and greased springform pan. Place the springform on a cookie sheet (in case of leakage) and bake for 50-60 mins. The top of the cake will be puffy and a little cracked when it’s done; the center of the cake will still jiggle a bit. Pull the cake from the oven and set it on a rack to cool for at least an hour – if you don’t allow this resting period and try to pull the springform off early you will have crumbs; they’ll be tasty crumbs, but they’ll just be crumbs. After the cake has set up, remove the outer ring of the springform pan. You can level the cake now if you would like to, or if you are like me, you can not worry about that and flip it onto a plate and watch the middle make a crater. If you do level the cake, you should probably flip it over so the pretty side is facing up. Chill it overnight or for at least 3 hours in the fridge. Serve chilled and drizzled with copious amounts of salted caramel sauce.
Salted Caramel Sauce
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Note: Mine is darker than hers, I liked the “nuttier” flavor of the darker sugar and I added a little corn syrup to keep the caramel from crytallizing. Since I wouldn’t eat all the caramel for a bit I wanted to be able to reheat and use it at my leisure – a little corn syrup made that easier. If you are hesitant about corn syrup, David Liebovitz talks about it over on his site and you can see more there, but for all intents and purposes it can be left out here if you feel it should be.
1 cup sugar
1 Tbs light corn syrup
6 Tbs high quality salted butter. I used Kerrygold and it was divine!
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs of heavy cream at room temp; fresher is better if you can get it.
Add the sugar and corn syrup to a medium sized sauce pan and whisk them while they gently come to a simmer over medium heat. This takes about 5 mins, sometimes less if it’s humid out. Cook the sugar to a dark copper color (it’s better to have a light bottomed pan here so you can see the sugar change colors). Whatever you do: DONT LEAVE YOUR SUGAR UNATTENDED, it’s a little twit and will burn if you walk away for even 0.2 seconds. Remove the melted caramelized sugar from the heat and add the butter all at once, immediately. This will simultaneously melt the butter and cool down the caramel enough to add the cream without it all siezing on you. Whisk the sugar/butter mixture until everything is evenly distributed. Add the cream all at once. The caramel will foam; it’s okay, that’s why you used a largish pan (you did use a largish pan right?). Continue to whisk the sauce until it all comes together. Serve it immediately over your rich, dark, flourless chocolate cake or take it to the darkest corner of your apartment and eat it with a spoon while calling it “my precious” and… wait sorry, that’s not right. You should probably try to share. Everyone will love it after-all. This stores for 2 weeks or so in the fridge. If you refrigerate it and find the caramel too firm, you can microwave it for about 30 seconds to soften it up again.