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chocolate cake

Simply Good Chocolate Cake

Simply Good Chocolate Cake

Spring. Easter. Trees in bloom. Bright sunshine. Rain drops. Big sneezes. Little colds. Travels. Coming home. And chocolate.

My mom asked me the other day what was my creative process to write posts. Well, there it is. I throw words on paper. Words that go with the pictures I have taken of the recipe I have just made. I take them and elaborate with each paragraph. That’s the process. My way of remembering to hit all the key points of what I want to talk about. Sometimes events prompt me to a recipe. Sometimes I just execute for no other reason than the desire to cook, bake or simply eat (I know – how very pedestrian, right?!). Now, that’s just me. How do you go about writing a post?

Simply Good Chocolate Cake

Words. Pictures. Moments. They all weave together to give you a story. I like stories. For the past two weeks I have been listening to my mom tell the family’s stories. Some were old news, others not. Cousins getting married. Some having babies. Planning my grandfather’s 100th birthday party. Quarrels and accolades. It’s a big family. It bends and it snaps. It mends together and alone too. There are events or moments however that help us cross bridges and stick together, like Easter and Spring.

Simply Good Chocolate Cake

And chocolate. A good, simple chocolate cake. One we happily sunk our teeth into coming home from an escapade to Asheville, NC this past weekend. This was the perfect time of year to experience the duality that is early Spring in our region. Each week brings a mix of cold and hot days, sunshine and rain, thunderstorms even. Cardigans, tee shirts, pants, short, boots and sandals. All have to be at the ready for a few more days until the weather balance finally shifts completely.

Back home we say "En Avril, ne te decouvre pas d’un fil" (meaning in April you are better off not shedding all your warm layers yet). Here in the South, that advice rings true comes mid-March but in his usual fashion, my Southern boy pretty much relocated all warm layers to the back of the closet. And got a cold. One of those nasty colds with big sneezes and heavy head, sore throat and low fever. And with men’s general low tolerance of discomfort, you would think this is the end of the world of course.

Simply Good Chocolate Cake

One thing that reassured me that the world was not going to fall apart for Bill was that he never lost his appetite. How can you in Asheville? One of the best food oriented towns in the South East! We had some of those typical Spring days I was just mentioning above leaving us with just a small craving for something chocolate. A small but nipping feeling that could only get satisfied with a light but intense bite of chocolate cake.

In doubt. Make cake. In craving. Make chocolate cake. The world around you will instantly be comforting and lovely.

Simply Good Chocolate Cake

This could well turn out to be my favorite gluten free chocolate cake to date. One that holds many promises for changes and substitutions. We had it plain but I can easily foresee the addition of pecans, walnuts or pistachios in the near future. Maybe chocolate chips added to the batter for that little extra fudgy feeling when they are still warm out of the oven. A ripe mashed banana could easily find its way in there one day soon. Who knows? Can’t wait to bake it again!

Before I leave you with the recipe, I must announce the winner of the givewaway last week: congratulations to Julie from Kitchen. The cards and book will be on their way to Vancouver as soon as you send me your address via email {mytartelette AT gmail DOT com}

Simpy Good Chocolate Cake:

Serves 8

Notes: I like to use superfine gluten free flours more and more gluten free baked goods as some people always have issue with the slight change in texture and softness compared to regular all purpose flour. They are easily found online but feel free to use whatever you have on hand and if you don’t have to go gluten freee, use regular flour instead.
By choice, I’ve almost completely switched to baking with maple syrup, honey or sucanat which I used here but feel free to use regular sugar instead.

2 large eggs
3/4 cup (150gr) sucanat or regular sugar
1 cup (250ml) sour cream
6 oz (180gr) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1 stick (115gr) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 cup (75gr) superfine brown rice flour
1/2 cup (75gr) superfine sweet rice flour
1/2 cup (65gr) sorghum flour
1/2 cup (75gr) millet flour
OR 2 cups (250gr) all purpose flour instead of the 4 flours mentioned above
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (do not use with all purpose flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350F and position a rack in the middle.
Line the inside of 8-10 muffin tins with cupcake liners, or 8 ramekins or one 8-inch round cake tin (use a piece of parchment paper at the bottom). Lightly butter or spray the inside of the tins.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the eggs and sucanat/sugar for 2-3 minutes at medium speed until light and airy. Turn the speed to low and add the sour cream, the melted chocolate and butter and continue to whip until everything looks fully blended. Slowly add the cocoa powder, all the gluten free flours (or all purpose if using), the gum, baking powder and pinch of salt. Turn the speed back up to medium and whip until the batter comes together in a uniform manner.
Divide among the prepared cake tins (or one single cake pan) and bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

A Daring Bakers' Flourless Chocolate Cake….Oh The Possibilities!

Flourless Chocolate Cakes

I can’t believe today is the last day of February! This month has flown by! Tomorrow, my parents will be here. March will be filled with more deadlines, assignments and anticipation of things to come. End of the month? Well, that must mean another Daring Bakers' challenge. Yes indeed! A Flourless Chocolate Cake to be precise. And ice cream…hmmhmmm.

As I do with many of the challenges, I read the recipe and walked away. I like to look at the structure of recipes and think about how I could play with them. This one was perfect for some afternoon fun in the kitchen. I like to take out molds and baking pans and ponder about how to make a recipe work with what I have on hand but I really had little time lately to play as much as I would have wanted to (manuscript due in about a month!). Once the cake batter was made, I divided it up in different ways: square silicone molds, round cake rings and a half sheet pan. For the ice cream, my MO these days is "one recipe-several applications" so I made a vanilla bean ice cream base and divide it to be flavored in a couple of other ways.


The square flourless cakes have an indent on top which was perfect to fill with some fresh berries and top with a quenelle of vanilla cinnamon ice cream. I split the round cakes and layered them with coffee ice cream with almond brittle bits and wrapped them around sheets of tempered dark chocolate. That’s when B. entered the kitchen and exclaimed "Yum! Ice cream sandwiches!"…."Ugh no…these are layered ice cream cakes". He then asked what I was going to do with the half sheet pan leftover and since he really seemed to want ice cream sandwiches, I went ahead and used a nifty little gadget that Mary sent me for my birthday and made him some simple vanilla bean ice cream sandwiches.


The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef. They have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

Chocolate Valentino Cake Recipe, adapted from Chef Wan.16 ounces (1 pound) (454 grams) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams total) of unsalted butter
5 large eggs separated

Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.
While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.
Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.
Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).
With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.
Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.
Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter. {link of folding demonstration}
Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F/190C
Bake for 25 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 140F/60C.
Note – If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet.
Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.


Vanilla Bean Ice Cream Recipe:

6 egg yolks
1 cup (100gr)
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split open and seeded

In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and the sugar until pale and thick. In a saucepan set over medium heat, bring the milk, cream and vanilla bean to a simmer, without letting it come to a full boil. Slowly pour the hot cream over the egg yolks mixture while whisking to temper the egg yolks. Pour the whole mixture back into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the cream coats the back of spoon. It should register 170F on a candy thermometer. At this point you have made a custard sauce, also known as "creme anglaise". Let cool completely, strain and refrigerate until cold, preferably overnight.
Once and the custard is cold, process according to your ice cream maker manufacturer’s instructions.
Divide the ice cream in three equal portions.

Cinnamon Ice Cream Recipe: place a cinnamon stick in the soft ice cream and let it freeze 2 hours or overnight to get all the flavor from the spice without the brown color. Remove the stick before using.

Coffee-Almond Brittle Ice Cream Recipe:
Almond brittle:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for baking sheet
1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup slivered almonds

1/3 of vanilla ice cream mixed with 1 teaspoon intant espresso powder. Freeze until almost set.

Preheat oven to 350°. Butter a half sheet pan or an 8×8 baking pan and set aside.
Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in sugar and honey. Bring to a boil. Cook, without stirring, until mixture is golden brown and registers 280°on a candy thermometer, about 6 minutes. Stir in the almonds. Cook until mixture reaches 300°, about 2 minutes. Pour onto the prepared baking sheet. Let cool completely. Break into pieces.

Add the broken brittle to the coffe ice cream and freeze.

Flourless Chocolate Cake...