My daughter bought me a beautiful cookbook last Christmas, Stéphane Raynaud's 365 good reasons to sit down and eat, that included this wonderful gluten-free almond chocolate cake.
When she was about five years old, I asked my daughter what kind of cake she'd like for her birthday party. Without hesitation, she announced that she wanted a flour-less chocolate torte. Very clear where she was taking her food cues from, even at that early stage.
I hadn't yet changed my diet to gluten-free, but always loved the rich, dense quality of a good flour-less torte. I guess I made it often enough that Isabella came to think of this as the norm. Eight years later, she still loves this type of cake. When we were going through the book, and found this recipe, I knew it would be the first thing I made.
It has taken me three-qaurters of a year to get to baking this cake. It was so much fun to try my hand at a completely different version of the flour-less torte than I had ever made before. The ground almonds (which I didn't grind quite as fine as I should have) keep the cake together and make the cake taste nutty and delicious.
This gluten-free treat takes some time. Do not rush, you have to whip the egg whites and then the yolks, melt the chocolate and the butter, grind the nuts...all the steps should be done at a leisurely pace. Otherwise, you end up like me: running back and forth between the stove and the mixer, dropping ground almond all over the floor, and getting egg yolks on your camera. OK, maybe not the camera part, because I'm assuming that most of you are not shooting each step as you go. But, I think you get my drift. Enjoy the ride.
Up to this point, I've never considered myself much of a baker, but I'm beginning to warm up to it. I love the scientific nature of putting all the right ingredients in the mix and then magically getting a wonderful treat at the end. My favorite part was watching the egg whites froth up into foamy peaks and then settle into this nice soft mounds.
The cake turned out a little soft. I don't think it was baked wrong, or mixed incorrectly. I do think I should have gone with my first instinct and used a springform pan, or a tart pan with a removable bottom. That way, the cake bottom would have been supported the whole time, instead of trying to transfer it to a plate for serving on it's own.
A wonderful dessert for Fall, especially if you serve it with a nice berry jam (that maybe you made back in the summer) and a hot cup of tea.
Chocolate Fondant Cake
from Stéphan Reynaud's 365 good reasons to sit down to eat
- 9 oz good-quality dark chocolate
- 9 oz butter
- 4 eggs, separated
- 3 1/2 oz sugar
- 1 cup gorund almonds
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- Preheat the oven to 315 degrees F.
- Melt the chocolate with the butter in a double boiler.
- Whip the egg whites to stiff peaks.
- Whisk the yolks with the sugar until they become pale and frothy.
- Add the chocolate mixture, ground almonds and cornstarch.
- Gently fold in the egg whites with a spatula.
- Butter and flour a tin (note: I lined a nine inch round pan with waxed paper).
- Pour in the chocolate mixture, cook in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes.