Last Sunday my mum turned 50. Wait, is divulging such a statistic bad etiquette? I never know with these things, but I digress. Since she knows I’m attempting to save every penny possible, she asked me to bake her and her friends a delicious cake in lieu of a gift. Apparently it went down rather well; the slice I had certainly did. This is hardly surprising, since the label “gluten-free” suits chocolate so well. Indeed, I first discovered this after making my most recent batch of brownies. This must be because the lack of flour goes some way towards preserving one of the fundamental qualities of chocolate – its smoothness. As we all know, taste isn’t the only important consideration when buying chocolate; it should also be smooth and seductive to the tongue.
This great, simple recipe is an amalgam of a number of ideas drawn from across the web, though it is ultimately my own. The most important step down the road of gluten-free perfection, appeared to be the separation of the eggs. Doing so allows one to give the cake all the richness of the yolks, while allowing the whites to reach their potential elsewhere. Indeed, the whites give the cake such a heavenly texture and structure, without removing the fundamental smoothness of the chocolate – something which flour finds it hard to accomplish. As such, this is one of the best chocolate cakes I have ever eaten and you simply must sample it, if not devour it.
Flourless Chocolate Cake
Makes 1 nine-inch cake
• 160g butter
• 230g dark chocolate, 50-70% cocoa
• 6 eggs
• 100g caster sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 130C and grease-proof a 9 inch cake pan. Begin melting the butter in a heavy based saucepan, before adding the thinly sliced chocolate. Whisk the egg yolks in gradually.
2. Beat the egg whites in a large bowl until peaks begin to form. Add the sugar and continue to beat until the peaks are a little firmer. Fold this mixture into the chocolate mixture until well mixed, take care not to knock any of the air out. Pour the batter into the cake tin, smooth and bake for around 50 minutes. It’s ready once the middle in just set; it should still have a little wobble.
Cost: This recipe is, as you can see, extremely simple. As such, it is very cheap – particularly if one keeps one’s own hens. However, for those of you who have neither chickens nor a cocoa plantation and processing facility, the cost of this cake should be around £2.70. Though, this will also depend on how cheap chocolate of a reasonable quality is where you live.