BE FRENCH. EAT CAKE. DON’T FEEL GUILTY AFTER.
We have sweet teeth : ) Not just one tooth but many! So naturally any recipe filled with chocolate is a success. This cake actually makes your insides sing; it is so chocolate-y and warm. Yet it feels sophisticated when you eat it, and you know a little goes a long way to make your taste buds happy.
This cake is perfect for the “buts” that come up when we bake. Jacqui does not do to well with wheat flour, and Charlotte hates to see how much sugar gets added to dessert recipes. Furthermore, we see no need to throw loads of butter in a recipe for no reason. We are both into keeping it as natural as can be, so margarine and chemical designed sugars will NEVER be found in our recipes. If you can find the product in nature, coming from our beautiful planet and the lovely healthy creatures that co-habitat this earth with us, then the ingredients are usually good with us. Also we like to keep everything as organic as can be; and although today we won’t be going into all the reasons for the importance of getting as much free-range, natural and organic products as you can, trust us we will come back to blog about it later. Remember dairy (and flesh) are probably the key things to buy organic. So if you have to choose ingredients to buy organic for this recipe, go with the butter and eggs.
But back to the cake! This is a French flourless chocolate cake, adapted from The French Kitchen. The sugar has been halved and replaced by honey and the butter has been halved and replaced by applesauce. We have not found one person who does not absolutely love this cake...and when you tell your girlfriends the improvements you made by cutting down on butter and sugar, I think you will find that they love it even more!
Prep time 30min
Cook time 40min + 10-20min to cool
Serves 6 -12 (depending on how you cut it, we think the slices should be small)
260g dark chocolate (200g for cake + 60g for frosting)*
90g applesauce *
60g unrefined natural sugar
200g ground almonds
4 eggs separated
A pinch of cinnamon
1 small shot of espresso
Heat oven 150 degrees
Line a 25 cm spring form tin with baking parchment or grease a 25 cm pyrex dish/glass dish with butter (we used the latter).
Cream the butter and sugar until very soft, you can use an electric whisk or do it by hand. Then add the honey and applesauce and cream some more. Make sure that if you have made your own applesauce you let it cool before you add it to the creamed mixture.
Once your sugar, butter, honey and applesauce are fully mixed, add the ground almonds, mixed egg yolks, and a (small) pinch of cinnamon.
Then break the chocolate into pieces and prepare a bain-marie. Melt the chocolate in the bain-marie or home made double broiler* slowly.
Then slowly and evenly add this to the creamed sugar, butter, honey, almonds and egg yolks.
In a separate clean (preferably glass) bowl whip the four egg whites with a pinch of salt. Using an electric whisk is essential here, if you don’t want to be in the kitchen all day. Whisk the egg whites until stiff and mounds start to form. Charlotte says you should be able to hold whipped egg whites over your head without them dropping- now don’t you try it though, we’ll test that for you.
Using a large metal spoon, fold the stiff egg whites into the batter carefully. And pour the mixture into the pan evenly.
Allow 35-40 minutes depending on oven, check cake at 35 minute (try to look through your oven door without opening it- Jamie Oliver always warns against opening the oven when baking). The cake will form a soft crust on top and still be quite dense and soft in the middle when it is ready. Note: you do not want it to bee too wet or soggy in the middle though, this recipe does contain raw eggs.
Let the cake cool in the tin for ten minutes before you take it out to cool it on the rack.
After the cake is completely cooled, melt the remaining chocolate in the bain-maire, with the espresso, and some sugar or honey to sweeten it if you like. Pour and delicately spread the melted chocolate over the top of the cake as a frosting. We thought it looked elegant just to frost the top, but feel free to do the whole cake if you like. Sprinkle a couple almond flakes on top to be so very French.
*Green and Blacks 70% cocoa Bakers Chocolate is best
* If you cannot buy ready-made organic applesauce (which we can never find in the UK) just make your own in no time. Peel and cut up 2-3 cooking and Gala or Braeburn apples into small fine pieces. Simmer with some boiling water and cook until mushy. Ten blend with an electric blender. The applesauce should really be pureed so you do not taste apple pieces in the cake.
*To make your own double-broiler, boil water in a pot and place a glass bowl that fits on top nicely (without falling in) on top of the pot. As the water creates steam the steam melts the chocolate sitting in the glass bowl, but because the chocolate never directly touches the flame it has less a chance of burning. If you burn your chocolate you got to chuck it out no one likes a burnt chocolate flourless cake!
Charlotte & Jacqueline