Sunday, June 7, 2009

A Cake with no Flour : Sunken Chocolate Cake

I have been thinking a lot about chocolate cakes lately. For some reason I can't seem to get them out of my mind. When I think of a chocolate cake, I want something moist, rich, and truly decadent. I want to splurge and not care at all about calories or fat or any of the other horrible things we are all taught to fear. This cake is full of chocolate, rich, deep dark chocolate .. with only a bit of sugar... enough to be sweet but not cloying. A dollop of freshly whipped cream, sweetened, is all you really need to counter the richness. Perhaps add a few berries if you want a burst of color.

I originally posted this recipe here, but I will share it here again:

Sunken Chocolate Cake (adapted long ago from Woman's Day)
(serves 10-12)

10 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate (70-80%) (such as Lindt), broken into pieces
5 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup sugar, divided into two portions
4 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup finely ground almonds
2 Tbsp brandy or coffee liqueur (or strong cold coffee)
powdered sugar, to garnish
frehsly whipped cream, sweetened with a bit of sugar

Set your oven rack to its lowest position, preheat to 300 F (150C). Grease an 8-9" springform pan and line with parchment.

Set a large bowl near your microwave and heat some water in a kettle. You will find out why in a moment. Have ready 3 more bowls, one for your chocolate, another to beat your egg whites in, and yet another to beat your butter & yolks in. Yes, it sure is a lot of bowls - but this chocolate cake is worth a bit of washing up in the end.

Place broken chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 1 minute, stir, then heat again for 30 seconds. Repeat in 30 seconds intervals until the chocolate is fully melted and smooth. Place the bowl of chocolate into the slightly larger bowl you set aside earlier. Carefully pour some hot water into the larger bowl - be careful not to get any water inside your chocolate bowl. Let your chocolate rest in its warm nest while get the eggs ready.

Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form and they looks shiny, like a satin sheet; gradually adding 1/4 cup of the sugar If you turn off your mixer and pull the beaters up, the whites should make pretty white peaks that stay put without dripping.

Place the butter and remaining 1/4 cup sugar into another bowl and beat (using the same beaters) until the mixture is smooth, just a couple of minutes. Add the yolks and continue beating another minute. Add the ground nuts and the liqueur or coffee and beat another 2 minutes, until the mixture is light, creamy, and a soft pale yellow color.

Remember your chocolate sitting in its warm bath? Give it a stir; it should still be warm and melted, but no longer burning hot. Spoon a bit of the chocolate at a time into yellow butter mixture, mixing with a rubber spatula, until all of the chocolate has been added.

Fold just about 1/4 of the chocolatey butter mixture into the egg whites. Be gentle!

Next, take the now chocolatey egg whites and add them carefully to the butter mixture, again folding the mixture gently with a spatula. (All of this bowl juggling may seem tedious, but it is essential in order to prevent the chocolate from scrambling the eggs and also to keep the eggs from getting crushed back down into a weepy messy liquid).

Once everything is blended, pour mixture into the prepared springform pan and bake for about 40-45 minutes for an 8" size pan, or 35-40 minutes for a 9" pan. To test, stick a toothpick into the cake - the cake is ready when the toothpick comes out with thick, moist but NOT wet crumbs stuck to it- it should NOT come out clean.

Let cake cool in the pan for 30 minutes; it will sink - this is normal. Remove the sides and invert onto a plate. Remove the parchment and invert onto a serving plate. Dust with some powdered sugar and serve with sweetened whipped cream.

You will want to keep any leftover cake in the fridge, where it will keep well for a few days.


  1. That's a really delicious looking chocolate cake Heather! I am sure my boss would love it. You can't beat Women's day magazine for good recipes. I have quite a few clippings in my big blue binder as well. I used to buy it religiously. Wasn't that the one that used to have a month's worth of menus and recipes in it each month?

  2. Yes that is the one, I think :) Thank you - it is a very yummy cake.