Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Decadent Flourless Chocolate Cake

This past memorial day weekend, Peter was gone river rafting on the Kern River for a bachelor party. Therefore, I got to plan some fun girl days! On the actual Memorial Day afternoon, I planned a picnic with my friends Lindsey and Laurie. We set up our picnic on a grassy park right above the beach so that we could also set up CROQUET to play on the lawn! 

In college, Peter and his NINE roommates set up croquet in their front yard; they played all the time- it was awesome... Halftime during the Laker game? Croquet! Free time? Croquet! Want to procrastinate studying? Croquet! These boys turned a recreational past-time into a competitive sport. They played so hard that the set fell to pieces by the time they all graduated. So I got Peter a new croquet set for his birthday last month. We have all been playing it together down here now, and it has been so nostalgic for us all :) However, since the boys are croquet masters from all that practice during their college days, we girls are getting beat up on! This is why it was necessary for us to sneak in a little practice while the boys were gone river rafting :)

To go along with our european lawn game, I planned a french/european 'poet's picnic' (baguette, cheeses, fruit, etc). But I also wanted to make something fun for dessert--- What better than a recipe I learned from Julia Childs- the very woman who brought french cooking to America! It was decided; I would make the flourless chocolate cake that I had learned from one of her cooking shows some time ago :) I added a chocolate ganache glazing and berries whereas Julia Childs added just a sprinkling of powdered sugar atop the cake instead. Either way would be good, but from our experience the ganache was divine. And the cake is so rich that the berries are almost an essential companion. (Also, we couldn't pack ice cream for the picnic of course, but over the following days we enjoyed the leftovers with berries and vanilla ice cream and that was a match made in heaven).

Recipe (serves about 15 since only small slices are required due to its density & richness)

Flourless Chocolate Cake:

  • 2 sticks Salted Butter
  • 8 oz. Chocolate, >60% cacao (Julia used bittersweet, I used Semi Sweet)
  • 1 cup Unsweetened Cacoa
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated Sugar
  • 6 eggs

Chocolate Ganache:

  • 3/4 cup Half & Half or Heavy Cream (I use half & half because it is healthier and it was just fine... I know, I'm making a very unhealthy decadent cake!!!)
  • 8 oz. Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter (this gives it that satiny shine and keeps it shiny)

Melt the 2 sticks of butter and stir in the 8 oz chocolate until melted. 
(I just used a 'double boiler' method of nesting a bowl above a pot of boiling water to melt my butter and chocolate together)

In a separate bowl whisk/sift 1 cup unsweetened cacoa with 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar.
Then stir in 6 eggs.

Then slowly temper in the hot butter/chocolate mixture (or else the eggs will scramble), and combine well:
(temper slowly add in a little bit of the hot chocolate and stir well. Continue adding small amounts of hot chocolate and stirring until it is all incorporated together.)

Butter bottom and sides of a 9 inch springform pan and pour cake batter into springform:

Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes

While cake is cooking, prepare the chocolate ganache icing. Ganache is a chocolate glaze/icing that is typically 1 part chocolate and 1 part cream. The addition of butter gives it that glossy, satin-like shine.

Bring the half and half to a simmer using the double boiler method as above. Then melt in the 2 Tbsps butter. Turn off the heat and stir in the chocolate until completely combined. Remove bowl from pot and let ganache somewhat cool before glazing the cake.

Remove cake from springform pan and transfer to a cooling rack that is set up above a baking sheet (to catch the ganache drippings)

This was our fun picnic spread!

I used fresh strawberry slices to decorate the top of my cake, but I imagine raspberries could be very good as well.

Look at how moist and dense it is! That is the beautiful thing about flourless cakes :)

 Here are Laurie and Lindsey during one of our croquet matches that afternoon:

And here are all three of us with croquet mallets in hand :)

Peter came home from river rafting and was delighted to find the remains of this decadent cake in our kitchen! We found that it was best enjoyed warmed up with a side of creamy vanilla ice cream.


  1. Yum, you're gonna have to make this for Pop... Let me know when you do, I may have to test it before hand ;)

  2. Hmm looks good but not that easy to bake but I will definitely try it.