Flourless chocolate cake This cake was on my first dessert menu at Barrenjoey House in 1982, and is now a firm favourite with my daughters, who’ve mostly had it as their birthday cake for all of their young lives. The reason it’s been kicking around for so long is that it’s just a terrific cake, with a heavenly texture like a chocolate soufflé – and it behaves like one too. With no flour to hold it up, it rises as it cooks and falls as it cools, so do not freak out when it sinks in the middle.
400 g (14 oz) good-quality dark chocolate, broken up
6 eggs, separated
150 g (5½ oz) caster (superfine) sugar
2½ tablespoons Cointreau
300 ml (10½ fl oz) pure (whipping) cream
Cocoa powder, for dusting
Lightly whipped cream, to serve
You’ll also need a 900 g (2 lb) loaf tin
Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F). Lightly oil your loaf tin, then line it with baking paper.
Melt the chocolate in a stainless-steel bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water; don’t let the water boil, or you might scald the chocolate. Carefully lift the bowl of chocolate off the pan and leave it to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat the egg yolks and two-thirds of the sugar until pale and creamy. Add the Cointreau and beat until well combined, then add the chocolate and mix until completely incorporated.
In a separate bowl, whip the cream until soft peaks form.
In another bowl, start whisking the egg whites until soft peaks start to form, then gradually add the remaining sugar and keep whisking until firm peaks form.
Gently fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture, followed by the whisked egg whites.
Pour the mixture into the tin, then sit it in a deep baking dish or roasting tin and add enough hot water to come about 2.5 cm (1 inch) up the outside of the loaf tin. Bake for 45 minutes, then turn the oven down to 150°C (300°F) and bake for a further 45 minutes. Turn the oven off, but leave the cake inside for 20 minutes, then remove and allow to cool completely.
To serve, carefully run a knife around the inside edge of the tin, then turn over the tin onto a plate – the cake should slide out easily. Using a knife dipped in hot water, cut into slices, dipping the knife into hot water after each cut. Place on plates, dust with cocoa powder and serve with lightly whipped cream.
This cake keeps well for 2 days at room temperature; don’t put in the refrigerator or it will become hard and unpalatable.
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