I love these little flourless cakes. They’re made almost like a soufflé, so they puff up then sink when they come out of the oven, leaving a little crater in the middle that’s perfect for piling up with sour or whipped cream and berries or nut brittle. I’ve also made them using roasted and ground hazelnuts for more of a praline-y flavour. The mixture can also be baked in a 23cm round cake pan, to make one large sunken chocolate cake – it may need 5 minutes longer in the oven though.
Flourless Chocolate Cakes with Sour Cream and Cocoa
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
175g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
200g dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa solids, chopped
175g caster sugar
½ tsp fine sea salt
100g ground almonds
sour cream or whipped double (heavy) cream
berries or chopped, toasted nuts
cocoa (unsweetened chocolate) powder (optional)
Preheat oven to 160?C/140?C fan/gas mark 3. Grease the base of six 10cm cake tins and line them with baking parchment.
Melt the chocolate in the microwave or in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, then set aside to cool slightly.
Separate the eggs, putting the whites in a mixing bowl and the yolks in a small bowl. Using electric beaters, whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks, then sprinkle over 75g of the sugar and whisk until stiff and glossy. Set aside.
In another large mixing bowl, use the electric beaters (there’s no need to clean them after the whisking the egg whites) to cream the butter and the remaining 100g sugar for 3-4 minutes until pale and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks, then the melted chocolate and salt. Use a spatula to fold through the ground almonds until combined.
With the spatula, stir one-third of the egg white into the chocolate mix to loosen it, then carefully fold in the remaining egg white in two additions, trying to lose as little air as possible, but ensuring they’re completely incorporated. Carefully divide the mixture between the cake tins, gently smooth the top and bake for 20-25 minutes until set in the middle. Leave to cool in the pans, set on a wire rack.
Remove from the tins and top with sour cream or whipped cream, berries or nuts, or just a dusting of cocoa powder.
Extracted from California: Living + Eating by Eleanor Maidment (Hardie Grant, approx €25). Photography © Nassima Rothacker.