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Flourless cakes a dense decadence for confirmed chocoholics

Thursday, July 22, 1999

By Arlene Burnett, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

We have two chocolate cakes that you're going to love -- one mouthful of either cake will send you to chocolate heaven.

The cakes are minus one traditional ingredient -- flour. So, what replaces the flour? Nothing. However, the combination of whipped egg whites, chocolate and butter makes a cake that's so rich and chocolatey you should serve small slices.

The ingredients in both cakes are basically the same except for the ground almonds in the first recipe. The addition of almonds gives the batter a slightly different texture, plus you have the wonderful flavor of almonds to complement the chocolate.

These cakes might take a little longer than a boxed cake, but they're worth the effort.

Our first flourless cake recipe was sent in by Joe Kendra of Coraopolis; the second comes to us by way of Darlene Meden of Jefferson Borough. Flourless Chocolate Cake was requested by Katherine L. Mentzer of Ross.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

6 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely cut
1 1/2 sticks sweet butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
6 eggs, separated
6 ounces unblanched almonds, finely ground (1 1/4 cups)
1/8 teaspoon salt
9-inch springform pan, fitted with parchment or wax paper, buttered and sprinkled with bread crumbs, see note

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place chocolate in top of double broiler over simmering water. Stir until melted and smooth. Cool slightly.

Cream butter in electric mixer, then add sugar and beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating after each addition.

On low speed, add the melted chocolate and beat only to mix. Add almonds; beat to mix only. Set batter aside.

In another bowl, add egg whites and salt and with an electric mixer; beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Take about 1/2 cup of the egg whites and fold into chocolate batter; fold in the remaining egg whites in 3 additions.

Bake 20 minutes in the bottom third of the oven, reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake another 50 minutes (because we have a 9 3/4-inch springform pan, our cake baked in 35-40 minutes).

Remove from oven and cool 20 to 25 minutes on a damp towel; release side of pan; place on cooling rack until completely cooled, about 1 1/2 hours. Invert cake on cake dish or platter and spread with the icing below.

Icing

1/2 cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons dry instant coffee
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely cut

In a saucepan over medium heat, scald cream; add coffee and stir to dissolve; add chocolate, and simmer 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Pour over cake. Use a long, narrow knife or spatula to smooth top and spread icing down sides of cake. Allow icing to set.

Refrigerate until ready to serve; set cake out for about 10 to 15 minutes for icing to soften.

Note: In place of the bread crumbs we used 2 tablespoons of ground almonds that we had left over.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

8 ounces bittersweet (not unsweet- ened) or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
6 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup plus 5 tablespoons sugar
2 cups chilled whipping cream
4 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semi-sweet chocolate, shaved with vegetable peeler

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 9-inch springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper. Butter parchment.

Combine 8 ounces chopped chocolate and butter in heavy medium saucepan over low heat and stir until melted and smooth. Cool slightly.

Beat egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar in large bowl until well blended. Stir in chocolate mixture. Using electric mixer fitted with clean, dry beaters, beat egg whites and 2 tablespoons sugar in large bowl until stiff but not dry. Using rubber spatula, gently fold beaten whites into chocolate mixture in 3 additions.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake until puffed and tester inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 30 minutes. Transfer pan to rack. Cool 10 minutes. Using small sharp knife, cut around edge of cake. Release pan sides. Invert cake onto rack. Peel off parchment and cool cake completely. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate overnight.

Beat chilled whipping cream with 3 tablespoons sugar until stiff peaks form. Transfer cake to platter. Cover top and sides with whipped cream. Press chocolate shavings onto sides of cake. (Can be prepared 4 hours ahead. Cover with cake dome and refrigerate.)

Request

We're on a hunt, and we need your help. Regina Wozniak of Belle Vernon is searching for a bread pudding recipe similar to the Old Country Buffet's -- and also a rice pudding recipe made with long grain rice, milk and pineapple, and egg whites that are beaten separately.

If you want to answer a recipe request from a reader or are looking for a recipe yourself, please write to Kitchen Mailbox, c/o Arlene Burnett, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh 15222. Please include a name, neighborhood and a daytime phone number. All recipes are kitchen-tested by the Post-Gazette.



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