The flavor and taste of this cake is heaven, but I know I will probably go to hell because I am lusting after a cake…. It is facing me…sitting pretty…there….chocolaty, bittersweet, all glazed up, all dressed up…and it is too early for cake… But I think my throat could use a little love right now….and I need to take my meds with food….See what a simple flourless cake does to your head?!!!
After our croissant making weekend, our little baking group decided to go for a slightly less time consuming dessert and we settled on a flourless chocolate cake. There are as many ways to make a flourless chocolate cake as there are ways to bake them. I have some before where egg whites were beaten stiff then incorporated into the chocolate mixture, most of the time with very little butter and you end up with a very light almost meringue like cake. Not this one! My arteries kinda screamed a little when I looked at the ingredients: 3 sticks of butter, 6 whole eggs…oh! Wait! There is actually 8 ounces of Antioxidant Powerhouse dark bittersweet chocolate so I should not feel so bad!!! Even more if you count the glaze…why worry?!
Worried I became last night when I pulled these babies out. The original recipe calls for baking the cake in a 9 inch pan in a water bath. As I went to get the pan out of the cupboard, I figured I could try to make some demi sphere or pyramid cakes with the silicon pans I had, and pour the remaining batter in a 6 inch pan. The recipe is a breeze to make, seriously…I did not use the recommended chocolate but Lindt 70% bittersweet, and a dip of my fingertip in the prebaked batter gave me confirmation that this cake was going to be intense.
I baked the cakes, let them set to cool and then I could not wait any longer and cut one…and then the worrying begin. Let me explain: the taste was awesome, but the texture did not appeal to me. I don’t like puddings that much and that’s what it was, 20 minutes after sitting on the counter top….Normal I thought, I am sure that a good 6 hours in the fridge is going to concentrate all of that.. Around midnight last night, I was still up reading and decided to go ahead and make the glaze. The little spheres looked so good…They seemed a little heavier in my hands, as if they were "fudging up" so my worrying was going away.
Since I can’t talk, I can’t teach my classes or train my clients, so I have plenty of time on my hands…something I am not used to…but took the opportunity to play around with the dessert and give justice to its name by dressing up a little. I added caramelized hazelnuts, hazelnut and cocoa nibs praline and banana chips.
Thank you Mary for putting the recipe up. Head over to her blog to get the full lowdow and go check out what my other talented and witty partners in crime have created!
Here are the elements I added to plate the cakes and their respective recipes:
Caramelized Hazelnuts: (You will use the leftover caramel for the praline)
200 gr. sugar
12 hazelnuts, skin off
Fix a toothpick into each hazelnut. Cut a large block in styrofoam or use a sturdy piece of carboard. You will fix the hazelnut on it after they are dipped in the caramel.
On medium high heat, melt 100 gr. sugar to a light amber color. Add the remaining 100 gr. sugar and stir and cook until deep amber. Stop the caramelization by setting your saucepan in bowl filled with ice and water. Wait 30 seconds for the caramel to thicken a bit and dip the hazelnuts. Fix each on the styrofoam and invert it on the edge of your countertop with a pan underneath to catch the sugar. I have got an easier way by inverting the styrofoam on the edge of the open dishwasher so that any piece of caramel is washed away next time I turn it on.
Hazelnut and Cocoa Nibs Praline:
Over medium heat, re-heat the caramel you have used for the hazelnuts until liquid again, Quickly stir 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts and 2 Tb. cocoa nibs. Pour on a parchment lined baking sheet. Allow to cool completely and break in pieces.
1 ripe banana
Puree one banana in a food processor until completely smooth. Cut out stencils in plastic or heavy paper. Line a couple of baking sheet with silicone mats and pour some puree into each stencils. Remove your patterns, sprinkle a bit of granultated sugar over the shapes and bake at 200 degrees F. for 40 minutes.
Peel them carefully off the mat and use a rolling pin if you ant to bend and shape them
Lis February 23, 2007 um 6:11 pm
HOLY SCHNIKEYS yours are the-most-gorgeous-I’d-be-afraid-of-breaking-one-but-would-deal-with-the-consequences-cakes I’ve EVER seen.
Smashing job, my friend!
Brilynn February 23, 2007 um 6:21 pm
That’s awesome! I have to learn how to make pretty decorations…
Anonymous February 23, 2007 um 6:28 pm
that´s on pimped out dessert, my friend. No wonder Cream puffs have been out to get you lately! haha Beautiful work indeed, the not-talking phase seems to be a very creative one indeed.
Rachel February 23, 2007 um 7:18 pm
Alpineberry Mary February 23, 2007 um 7:34 pm
I’m not worthy, I’m not worthy! Your sugar making talents are impressive. But I expected no less from you. 🙂
Cheryl February 23, 2007 um 8:42 pm
I second the "I’m not worthy" mantra.
That is a work of art. Just amazing.
MyKitchenInHalfCups February 23, 2007 um 9:28 pm
Can you see me?
I’m in a royal bow wow!!!
That is truely awesome!
Peabody February 23, 2007 um 10:04 pm
Holy super overachiever award! It looks fabulous!!!!
Anonymous February 23, 2007 um 11:06 pm
C’est super joli Helen! Tout cela pour te remettre sur pied tres vite!
Anonymous February 24, 2007 um 12:05 am
You have created a think of absolute beauty. Perhaps I will have to seduce the cake now … please don’t be jealous.
Anonymous February 24, 2007 um 12:17 am
Oh Helen, I love the touches you put on your version the 'intensity'! Just gorgeous.
Here’s to a speedy recovery!
Jenny February 24, 2007 um 12:37 am
Wait a minute – did you cheat and buy yours from a top nob pastry chef? Cause that looks so good I bet people would pay top dollar for it in a fancy restaurant!
Anonymous February 24, 2007 um 4:03 am
Ok, now you taunt us with those pretty caramel art…as if the cake was not enough to break all our diets. Beautiful!
sher February 24, 2007 um 4:38 am
Did you hear me gasp!! You should have, it was loud! As soon as I saw the picture I was overwhelmed with admiration–and chocolate lust!!!!
Anonymous February 24, 2007 um 9:19 am
That is so beautiful… love how you decorated it – looks as though it would almost be a shame to eat though… almost!
Anonymous February 24, 2007 um 12:04 pm
Une superbe pièce, bravo!
Anonymous February 24, 2007 um 4:11 pm
Well maybe if it wasn’t chocolate I would say it looks to good to eat. But you know how it is with chocolate….
Anonymous February 24, 2007 um 4:41 pm
Your cakes are a sight to behold! Love how you plated them! They look so gorgeous, I wouldn’t even want to eat one, just admire it’s beauty and artfulness.
Anonymous February 24, 2007 um 6:40 pm
that’s one gorgeous presentation, Helen! i love the sugar spun you created…
Susan from Food Blogga February 24, 2007 um 6:44 pm
Oh. My. God. What a work of art.
Astrid February 24, 2007 um 7:16 pm
Beautiful, stunning, inspiring!
Mercotte February 24, 2007 um 7:24 pm
Absolument génial !
Elle February 24, 2007 um 8:48 pm
Hard to believe that the recipe could be improved on…I mean it’s intense chocolate isn’t it?… but your lovely caramel coated hazelnuts, hazelnut AND cocoa nibs shards and even shaped bannana pieces…TOO beautiful and I’ll bet the crunch is a wonderful counterpoint to the smooth cake.
Patricia Scarpin February 24, 2007 um 9:42 pm
This is a masterpiece, Helene. Seriously.
Such a beautiful presentation, I’m stunned!
Anonymous February 25, 2007 um 2:02 am
I am so impressed with your presentation! What a gorgeous looking dessert!
K and S February 25, 2007 um 5:00 am
Anonymous February 25, 2007 um 9:23 am
Gattina Cheung February 25, 2007 um 2:10 pm
Helene, you’re an artist!!! The whole thing just took my breath away! And glad to see you get the texture you like!
Cindy February 25, 2007 um 3:52 pm
Once again, it looks fantastic !
Freya February 25, 2007 um 8:00 pm
I love those 'garnishes'! Absolutely jaw dropping!
Connie February 26, 2007 um 2:09 am
wow. such effort! and it paid off so beautifully.
Melting Wok February 27, 2007 um 6:56 am
Hi Helene 🙂 Preety li' sweet treats..ah..sweet sweet sensation 🙂
Barbara February 27, 2007 um 9:35 pm
Wow that’s impressive Helene.
Parisbreakfasts March 1, 2007 um 9:06 pm
MAJOR WOW !