“Bitter Flourless Chocolate Cake with Coffee Cream” from “Simple”

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Book club night!

I love being able to try out new recipes from our tester cookbooks for book club, but they also love to be the guinea pigs, so I call that a win-win situation.

Tonight it was time to try another flourless chocolate cake. I’ve tested quite a few on this blog. I think my favourite– or at least the one I turn to repeatedly– is the one by Angela Hartnett in “A Taste of Home”.

This one was much like the others. I’m thrilled to say that it didn’t collapse, but as I’ve written previously, I know to beat the egg whites in utter submission in order for the cake to stay firm after baking.

The new addition to this particular version of flourless chocolate cake was the making of coffee cream to go with it, where you whip up double cream, a coffee paste and some alcohol. Diana Henry wanted me to add whiskey to it, but given just the smell of whiskey makes me nauseous, I decided to add amaretto instead. Tim suggested if I make the cream again I use Bailey’s Irish Cream, which I thought was a stellar suggestion, so I will do that.

The book club loved it. We were busy disagreeing on our opinion of the book* [see below], but we could agree on loving this cake. It was another winning recipe.

*If you’re curious what we read, it was “The Reader on the 6.27” by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent, and translated by Ros Schwartz. I loved it, but the club was split on its option. Five of us loved it, four of us hated it. I would urge you to read it, but four of my friends would not. For what it’s worth.

This recipe, which I definitely recommend, can be found on the Telegraph website. You can read it by clicking through this paragraph.

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“Bitter Flourless Chocolate Cake with Coffee Cream” from “Simple”

“Flourless Chocolate Cake” from “Hummingbird Bakery Home Sweet Home”

Regular readers of this blog will know that we are big fans of flourless chocolate cake.  This is the fifth time I’ve made flourless chocolate cake for the blog, which doesn’t even count the times I make it but don’t record the occasion. If you’re curious, the other flourless chocolate cakes I’ve done are:

Flourless Chocolate Cake from “The Primrose Bakery Book”

“Scotti’s La Capreses Chocolate Cake” from “A Taste of Home” by Angela Hartnett

“Chocolate Marmalade Slump Cake” from “Good Things to Eat” by Lucas Hollweg

– “Henry’s Quick Chocolate Cake” from “Leon 2”.

We’ve loved them all, in different ways. This one I made for a Sunday Lunch because one of the guests was allergic to gluten. But as far as I was concerned, any excuse for making a flourless chocolate cake was a good one. (This is also the reason why I don’t have any dialogue for this recipe review.)

It was, in short, another triumph.

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I’m getting to be quite the expert on making flourless chocolate cake. This one differed in that you make a sugar syrup, which you then add to the chocolate.

But this recipe was a revelation in another respect: you bake it in a water bath (or bain-marie, if you want to be technical about it), which prevented the cake from falling.

Let me say that again: This Flourless Chocolate Cake Did Not Fall.

I don’t mind when they fall, actually. You have to embrace that aspect of its personality, and frankly, it’s still delicious, so it doesn’t much matter. But using the water bath is a simple solution to prevent that from happening, so I will do that again, no matter what the recipe.

I also need to take a minute to talk about the consistency of this cake. It was like eating a slice of chocolate mousse. It was light and creamy and chocolately and dense, all at the same time. It would seem impossible that could be so, but it in this case, it really was.

So chalk up this latest version of Flourless Chocolate Cake as an Epic Win. Yum.

“Flourless Chocolate Cake” from “Hummingbird Bakery Home Sweet Home”

An Autumnal Feast from “Easy”.

Anna: To start let me tempt your tastebuds with white bean crostini. Would you like a trowel to serve this with?

Kirstin: It tastes deslish with the salsa verde though, don’t you think?

Anna. But without the salsa verde it would just be white bean cement. I don’t why I persevere with these white bean recipes. They always turn out the same.

Kirstin: Well look at my disastrous focaccia! Ho hum!

Continue reading “An Autumnal Feast from “Easy”.”

An Autumnal Feast from “Easy”.

“Flourless Chocolate Cake” from “The Primrose Bakery Book”

Sorry. I am deviating from the format YET AGAIN and not including any dialogue. The problem, once again, is I made this for my book club and it’s difficult for us to stay on one topic for long.

Flourless chocolate cake is one of those things that might appear to be really complicated and quite difficult to make, but actually the opposite is true. The trick is to beat the egg whites into submission. Show no mercy. If the egg whites are nice and stiff, the cake will work. I’ve decided that the best way to describe the consistency you need is to say that it should be like shaving foam. The fact that it looks an awful lot like it helps matters.

Also, the other thing to bear in mind, is no matter how stiffly you beat the egg whites, the cake is still going to fall once it’s out of the oven. Don’t sweat it. It’s still delicious. If you’re going to make Nigella Lawson’s Easter Egg Cake from Feast (a firm favourite over here), you cover the collapse by putting even more chocolate on to the top. It’s a delicious solution, but unnecessary. Learning to live with imperfection is a better solution, not least because it will make life easier  altogether.

Here’s a fine example of me learning to live with imperfection. See how it’s collapsed? I shrugged it off. I knew it would taste good, and it did.

Continue reading ““Flourless Chocolate Cake” from “The Primrose Bakery Book””

“Flourless Chocolate Cake” from “The Primrose Bakery Book”

“Scotti’s La Capreses Chocolate Cake” from “A Taste of Home”

Flourless cakes must be all the rage these days, because this is the third cookbook we’ve done that’s had a recipe for one. I’ve already made the one from Leon (success) and the chocolate-organge one from Lucas Hollweg (another winner in a cookbook of winners). Now it’s Angela’s turn.

The first great thing about this recipe is that it’s easy to remember, for the next time we’re in a holiday house and are desperate for some cake. 200 grams each of unsalted butter, caster sugar, dark chocolate and ground almonds, combined with 4 eggs separated, cook at 160C for 40 minutes and you’re done. Some people might struggle with beating the egg whites, which makes the “air” in the cake. But the more you make flourless cakes, the easier this gets.

I managed to make this on a particularly busy day for my book club that night and wasn’t at all stressed by doing it.

It was a resounding success at book club. This is the reason why there is no dialogue to go with this recipe. Anyone who’s ever been in a book club will understand why it is that I didn’t write down the dialogue. I would have also had to filter out all manner of discussion including travel plans for the summer, stories about our families, not to mention the book of the month. (In this case, it was “Annabel.” Fascinating book, but with a disappointing ending. But I digress.)

Everyone loved the chocolate cake. As people were eating their slices, one of my friends asked, “Who thinks this cake is the best thing that’s happened to them all day?” and everyone raised their hands.

Andrew and Nicholas, who got to have some leftover cake the next day, also agreed. They loved it too.

I will definitely be making this again, and will be recommending this recipe to my friends as well.

“Scotti’s La Capreses Chocolate Cake” from “A Taste of Home”