There has been an increasing demand for gluten-free baked goods. Entertaining at home, or bringing a terrific dessert to a party, can be a bit discouraging. Cake recipes that used to be the “go-to” for any occasion are no longer the sure-fire crowd-pleasers they had been before. Substitutes for flour can be useful, but more often than not, the result leaves one pining for the original version.
This recipe for individual flourless chocolate cakes has always used cocoa powder, never flour, so there are no awkward substitutions. They freeze beautifully, making a last minute dessert for two, four, or eight a snap.
The recipe makes a little more than a dozen minis, so I like to use ramekins and fill as many as I need. Try plating the cake with a fruit reduction design. Raspberry, for example, offers a perfect contrast to the delectable, velvety texture. I often dip one half in melted chocolate and serve with a dollop of whipped cream. You’ll love this recipe. Rich and available: perfect! And, well…dense.
What You Need:
1 12-count cupcake tin (or muffin pan) plus one or two additional ramekins or small bake-ware for the extra batter
1 large bowl
Parchment or waxed paper, greased foil in a pinch
Large cookie sheet
A large casserole to use as a Bain Marie
1 tea towel
1 double boiler
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ C. sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
½ C. unsweetened, best quality cocoa
4 ounces best quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped coarsely
1/8 tsp. salt
What To Do:
Butter the bottoms and sides of a cupcake tin (or muffin pan). Butter the entire top surface as well in case the cakes rise and spill over a bit. This prevents sticking and ruining the tops.
Heat the water in the double boiler to just below a simmer. To the top, add the bittersweet chocolate and the butter, stirring frequently. When completely melted and blended, set aside the top portion of the double boiler. This will allow it to cool enough so as not to cook the eggs, yet maintain the correct viscosity. Keep the warm water in the bottom half of the double boiler in case the chocolate mixture begins to stiffen and needs a bit more melting.
Preheat oven to 300°. Fill a kettle with water and set it to boil.
In the large bowl, use the hand held mixer on medium speed to beat the eggs until they thicken and become frothy. Blend in the cocoa, salt, and sugar with the rubber spatula, then beat the mixture at high speed. After about 2 minutes, it will thicken noticeably. At this point, it’s helpful to have another person help you by beating the mixture at medium speed while you slowly add the melted chocolate. This should take about one minute.
Spoon about 1/3 of a cup of batter into each section of the cupcake tin. Thoroughly wet the tea towel, and then wring it out. Place the damp washcloth on the bottom of the casserole. This helps prevent the tin from sliding around. Place the cupcake tin onto the cloth in the empty casserole dish. Carefully pour enough boiling water to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins or cupcake tins. If you have excess batter, use another Bain Marie to bake the additional cakes. Bake for 25 minutes and check. If your finger does not indent the cake, they are done. Carefully lift the cupcake tin out of the Bain Marie. Allow the cakes to cool in their bake-ware for 10 minutes.
Line the cookie sheet with the parchment or other liner. Place it on top of the cupcake tin and invert. The cakes should fall out easily. If not, gently remove them using a blunt knife around the edges and a bit on the bottoms.
Wrap the cakes individually in two layers of cling wrap, and then wrap six at a time in heavy aluminum. Freeze the two packets.
To defrost, remove the cling wrap and set the cake or cakes on a plate, then cover tightly to retain the moisture. They should be thoroughly defrosted after 24 hours in the fridge, less if left on the counter.
By Lisa Reitman Dobi