A Flourless Chocolate Cake + Holiday Planning

13 June 2014

Have you planned you sumer holiday yet? Over the last couple of weeks we have. Flights are booked and the countdown has begun in earnest (though it's not until mid August). This year we are off to Finland and we are all extremely excited at the prospect. 

Our friend is letting us stay at her family summerhouse. It's a place that really has the best of both worlds. It's only a mere half-an-hour or so from Helsinki, yet it's pretty isolated, surrounded by pine trees and vast lakes. It will be the break we'll need: days free of agenda to kick back and relax combined with days of exploring a capital city I have always been fascinated by.

Over the weekend, our generous Finnish friend came over for lunch, with her husband and children and gave us a fantastic list of places to see and things to do and to impart some 'general Finnish knowledge' on us.

We ate Tahini-dressed courgette and green bean salad, with cheeses, sourdough and focaccia. Afterwards we indulged in this seriously chocolatey cake. Made without flour, it's rich and indulgent with a texture not to dissimilar to a chocolate brownie. The recipe originates from a Sophie Dahl cookbook I own, but I have made a few adaptions, mainly as I don't own a food processor, so I've adapted the method a little to suit my old-fashioned kitchen.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Butter for greasing
300g plain chocolate (or 150g of plain, 150g of milk chocolate)
225g caster sugar
180ml boiling water
225g salted butter, cut into cubes 
6 eggs, separated
1 tsp instant coffee powder
1 tbsp vanilla extract
To top the cake:
125g blueberries
125g strawberries
a handful of pomegrante seeds
200ml crème fraîche

Grease and line the base of a 23-cm/9-inch round springform cake tin. Preheat the oven to 180℃/160℃ fan/Gas 4.

Break up the chocolate and add to a bowl and suspend over a pan of gently simmering water and melt, stirring occasionally. Then pour the melted chocolate and butter into a large mixing bowl and add the sugar, boiling water, egg yolks, coffee powder and vanilla extract and mix until combined. In a glass bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff and then add them to the mixture in the large mixing bowl and blend for 10 seconds or so. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and put in the hot oven for 45–55 minutes. The top will be cracked like a desert fault line.

After you take the cake out of the oven it will collapse in on itself quite a bit. This is ok; it’s not meant to be a proud cool cake, it’s meant to be slightly rough around the edges and home-made, and the crème fraîche and berries will hide any dips and cracks!

Let the cake cool, then put it in the fridge for a few hours. When you are ready to serve, remove from the tin and smother it in crème fraîche and liberally adorn with strawberries, blueberries and pomegrante seeds. You can indeed use any berries you like such as raspberries, blackberries or beautiful summer currants.

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