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High Country Baking: Fantastic flourless chocolate cake

Vera Dawson
High Country Baking
Fantastic flourless chocolate cake
Courtesy Vera Dawson

Want to dazzle Dad on June 21? Make him this rich, fudgy one-layer chocolate cake. It’s the perfect Father’s Day dessert. It’s as delicious and elegant as a bakery cake and often mistaken for one. Yet it’s so easy to prepare (one bowl and 15 minutes of active time) that kids can make it. And it relies on everyday ingredients that might already be in your pantry — a boon in the current time of shortages.

Most recipes for flourless chocolate cakes call for high quality, European-made chocolate, which is quite expensive and often hard to find in mountain groceries. This one uses readily available, commercially made chocolate chips or chocolate chunks and unsweetened cocoa powder with excellent and very similar results.

The optional glaze can be embellished with nuts and raspberries, like the cake in the photo, but is also lovely unadorned. If you forego the glaze, top the cake with a shower of confectioners’ sugar and serve it with raspberries or sliced strawberries and a dollop of whipped cream.   

Fantastic flourless chocolate cake

Works at any elevation. Make in an 8-inch shiny metal round cake pan.

Cake ingredients

  • 1 cup bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips or chocolate chunks
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar, preferably superfine
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons espresso powder, optional
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Glaze ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Directions

1. Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the center position. Grease the pan with a baking spray that contains flour, line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper and grease the paper.

2. Place the cup of chocolate chips/chunks in a microwave-safe mixing bowl. Cut the butter into 8-10 pieces, add them to the bowl, and microwave at a low temperature until the butter melts and the chocolate is partially melted and in small, soft lumps. Remove the bowl from the microwave and stir/whisk until the chocolate melts completely and the mixture is smooth and shiny. Add the sugar, salt, espresso (if using) and vanilla, and stir/whisk to blend fully. Stir in the eggs, one at a time, stirring/whisking until combined after each addition. Stir in the cocoa only until it disappears into the batter. Don’t over-mix.

3. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, leveling it and smoothing the top. Bake until the top is set, puffs up a little (it may develop small cracks), the sides start to pull away from the pan and the center no longer wobbles when you gently shake the pan, about 25-28 minutes. If you have an instant thermometer, insert it in the cake’s center; it should register at least 200 degrees.

4. Remove the cake to a rack to cool. After 8-10 minutes, loosen the cake by running a knife between the edges of the cake and the pan, pressing toward the pan so you don’t damage the cake. Turn the pan over onto a cardboard cake circle or a serving plate and carefully remove the pan and the parchment paper. The center of the turned-over cake should be a little soft; it will firm up as it cools. Leave the cake upside down; the bottom is now the top. Cool the cake completely.

5. Make the glaze, if using: Combine the chips/chunks and the cream in a microwave-safe bowl, place it in a microwave oven and heat it at a medium temperature until the cream is very hot but not simmering. Remove it from the microwave and stir until the glaze is completely blended and smooth. Pour/spoon it over the cake top and spread it, letting it drip down the sides. Let it set before cutting and serving the cake. To set the glaze quickly, place the cake in the fridge. Store the cake, covered, in the refrigerator for up to three days. It slices most easily when cold; dip a sharp, thin-bladed knife in hot water and dry it between cuts. Make thin slices; it’s rich. Serve at room temperature or cold.

Editor’s note: This recipe is a variation of one published by King Arthur Flour.

Vera Dawson

Vera Dawson’s column “High Country Baking” publishes biweekly on Thursdays in the Summit Daily News. Dawson is a high-elevation baking instructor and author of three high-altitude cookbooks. Her recipes have been tested in her kitchen in Frisco, where she’s lived since 1991, and altered until they work at elevation. Contact her at veradawson1@gmail.com.


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