Wednesday, March 3, 2010

flourless chocolate cake - the microwave saves the day yet again

flourless chocolate cake (tyler florence's) - 59My boyfriend's mother's birthday was coming up, and so I absolutely had to bake something for her. What I love about birthdays (as in anyone's birthday other than my boyfriend's) is that I get to bake something out of the ordinary (opposed to my typical chocolate chip cookies). I knew that his mom loves chocolate (whereas my boyfriend claims to dislike chocolate), so why not bake a chocolate cake? Oh wait- yeah, I hate cake. I also wanted to be able to indulge in someone else's birthday cake too (I know, I'm so selfish). So I figured I'd try something new and intriguing- a flourless chocolate cake.

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The main ingredient for such a cake was obviously chocolate. I used three different types of chocolate- Baker's Semi Sweet (54% cacao), Baker's Bittersweet (67% cacao), and Ghiradelli's Bittersweet (60% cacao). Tyler's recipe used 1 pound of bittersweet chocolate, but I generally feel it's not sweet enough for me, hence the addition of the semisweet chocolate.

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Being that chocolate was the focal point of this dessert, I insisted on using quality chocolate (okay- I know these brands aren't the best, but they're much better than Nestle or Hershey's or all that crap). No chocolate morsels here; as every good baker should know they contain stabilizers and junk.

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My boyfriend's muscles were thoroughly put to work, as I made him finely chop all the chocolate pieces.

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While he manned the melting station, I beat the nine egg yolks and the sugar. Afterwards, both mixtures were whisked together into a beautiful creamy chocolate concoction.

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The nine egg whites were not gone to waste, and were beaten into stiff peaks which were then folded majestically into the chocolate (credit given to my boyfriend).

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Into my springform pan to bake.

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There was a little timing issue with the cake. After reading all the reviews on the foodnetwork website, I was confused as to how long it should actually bake. People suggested it should be baked anywhere from 20-50 minutes (which is a very big difference). I went with the good ol' toothpick-in-the-center method.

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Each time I would take the toothpick out, there would still be some chocolate goop and crumbs still clung to it. After about 30 or so minutes, and after my boyfriend hinting that I take it out, I apprehensively pulled the cake out of the oven even though the toothpick still was not clean.

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We let the cake cool, then sprinkled some powdered sugar on top. I didn't have a chance to have a slice that day, being that his mother wasn't home yet and it was her birthday present. Imagine how rude it would have been if we had a slice before giving it to her?

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I knew they would save me a slice though. After some discussion with my boyfriend, we conclusively decided that taking it out sooner probably would have been better.

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Although the cake was somewhat dry and crumbly, a little quality time in the microwave did wonders. The cake immediately moistened up and probably tasted very similar to the moist dense chocolate cake it was intended to be.

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Everyone claimed to have enjoyed it, even with my baking-mistake. At least I learned a valuable lesson in the realms of flourless-chocolate-cake-baking.

Taken from Tyler Florence.

1 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces (We used half semisweet and half bittersweet- two different brands of semisweet though)
1 stick unsalted butter
9 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
2 cups heavy cream, cold (omitted)
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan.
2. Put the chocolate and butter into the top of a double boiler (or in a heatproof bowl) and heat over (but not touching) about 1 inch of simmering water until melted. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a mixing bowl until light yellow in color. Whisk a little of the chocolate mixture into the egg yolk mixture to temper the eggs - this will keep the eggs from scrambling from the heat of the chocolate - then whisk in the rest of the chocolate mixture.
3. Beat the egg whites in a mixing bowl until stiff peaks form and fold into the chocolate mixture. Pour into the prepared pan and bake until the cake is set, the top starts to crack and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out with moist crumbs clinging to it, 20 to 25 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes, then remove sides of pan.
4. While the cake is cooking, whip the cream until it becomes light and fluffy. (We didn't add any whipped cream.)
5. Serve at room temperature dusted with confectioners' sugar and topped with whipped cream.

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