In this month’s We Should Cocoa Choclette hands the reigns over to Michelle at Utterly Scrummy Food for Families, and the theme is gluten free. I’m actually somewhat familiar with gluten free baking, as my brother’s wife has coeliac disease. She’s also a master baker, and the stuff she makes is always so utterly delicious I’m amazed at the pale and dry gluten free options you often see at cafes, reportedly made by professionals. Inspired by her baking skills, I’ve vowed not to disappoint her when she comes ’round for dinner and coffee, and I’m pleased to announce that she went home with this recipe! (Incidentally, this cake became my brother’s firm favourite – his wife still prefers strawberry cake over chocolate. )
This cake doesn’t use any gluten free flour substitutes: it’s completely flourless and naturally gluten free (you will want to check your powdered sugar though to make sure it’s gluten free; some brands contain a glutenous starch). The rich and fudgey cake is topped with plenty of rich and fluffy frosting – you get pretty much equal layers of the two! The cake is a dark chocolate lover’s dream, intensely chocolatey; if you prefer something a little less hardcore, just use a semisweet chocolate (~40% cocoa solids) in place of the bittersweet. This time I flavoured the cake with orange (Cointreau liqueur and zest), but cognac and whisky would work well too – or coffee!
Chocolate Truffle Cake
225 g good quality bittersweet chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
120 g unsalted butter, cut into pieces & at room temperature
5 eggs (1 whole, 4 separated)
225 ml caster sugar (divided use)
2 tablespoons orange liqueur (such as Cointreau)
1 organic orange, zest of
Chocolate truffle frosting:
100 ml heavy cream
175 g good quality bittersweet chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
50 g unsalted butter, cut into pieces & at room temperature
4 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 tablespoon orange liqueur (such as Cointreau)
(cocoa powder for dusting, optional)
To make cake:
Preheat the oven to 180 C. Line the bottom of a 9” springform cake tin with parchment paper. Do not butter the sides.
Melt the chocolate on top of a double boiler. Add butter and let it melt in the warm chocolate. Stir until smooth.
In a bowl, whisk the 1 whole egg and 4 egg yolks with 100 ml of the caster sugar. Add the chocolate mixture, the liqueur and orange zest and stir to combine.
In another bowl, whisk the 4 egg whites until foamy, then gradually add the remaining 125 ml of sugar. Beat until the whites hold their shape, but are not quite stiff.
Stir in a dollop of the egg whites to lighten the chocolate mixture, and then fold in the rest of the whites.
Pour the batter into the prepared tin (I leave a little mountain in the middle) and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the cake is risen, the top cracked and the centre no longer wobbly. Do not overbake!
Cool the cake in its tin on a wire rack. The middle of the cake will sink as it cools. Do not worry: it’s supposed to happen. It’s why I put the cake in the oven as a little mountain, but even so, there will be a crater which will promptly get filled with chocolate truffle frosting.
To make frosting:
In a bowl, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. (You thought the cream would go on top of a double boiler with the chocolate, didn’t you? )
Melt the chocolate on top of a double boiler. Add butter and let it melt in the warm chocolate. Stir until smooth. Allow the mixture to cool for a while (if it’s too warm, it deflates the whipped cream).
Add the chocolate mixture to the whipped cream and fold in. Add powdered sugar and orange liqueur, stir gently to combine.
Frost the cake. Dust the frosted cake lightly with cocoa powder for a velvety finish. Transfer to the fridge to set the frosting.
Bring to room temperature before serving – the taste is absolutely at its best when the cake is not cold, and the rich and sturdy cake a lot easier to cut (although you’ll still want to use a sharp knife rinsed in hot water to cut it neatly!).