Monday, June 6, 2011

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache and Raspberries

I used to take piano lessons every week for twelve years. I’m slightly ashamed to say that the moment after I finished my grade ten exam, I pushed piano out of my mind and that I haven’t touched it since. People question why I don’t play the piano anymore, but I can’t seem to answer. It’s a sticky subject involving years of forcing myself to do something I didn’t particularly enjoy and cramming masses of now seemingly useless music theory and history into my head and forgetting it immediately after the exam. A lot of time and effort over the last twelve years has gone into piano and I can’t seem to fathom any more for the enjoyment of it. Like I said, it’s a sticky subject, kind of like university.

My former piano teacher Harold... he’s interesting character. He’s really enthusiastic about music and it’s plain to see. Even though some of his students were not all that interested learning about music theory and history, he was ardent nonetheless. At the time, all that enthusiasm had been annoying, but looking back, I realize how Harold really did try his best to teach us what we needed to know. Effort is always nice. 

When I quit piano, I made a huge four layer chocolate cake surrounded by a blanket of luxurious chocolate frosting for Harold. I usually feel good when I share my baked goods with friends, but I was slightly reluctant to give that cake away because it was so delicious-looking. Harold was overjoyed when I gave him the cake, probably because he now had something to brag about to his other students. Obviously, he thought the cake was a goodbye-I’m-giving-you-this-cake-because-we’ll-probably-never-see-each-other-again kind of gift; when I called him to see when I could drop the Flourless Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache and Raspberries off on Sunday, he sounded surprised to hear from me. 

I had actually doubled the recipe and baked three chocolate cakes, two in 8-inch pans and one in a 9-inch pan. I had intended to make two cakes, one to keep and one to give away. I assembled the two 8-inch cake layers with the chocolate ganache and raspberries with no problem, but as I began to slice the 9-inch cake in half lengthwise, the whole thing crumbled. Literally. The bottom was still intact, but the top had broken into many small pieces. I sighed; it looked like Harold would get the assembled cake while I’d be stuck eating cake pieces. 

Let’s just say that after I’d eaten about a quarter of the crumbled cake, I didn’t really mind anymore. The cake itself was deliciously chocolate-y. It was rich in taste, but light in texture and just really, really good. Oh, how I love flourless chocolate cakes. Who needs ganache when they can just eat the cake with raspberries?

Click below for the recipe.

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Raspberries

  • 7 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 7 oz (14 tablespoons) butter, softened
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
Chocolate Ganache:
  • 4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 pint raspberries, washed and dried


Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C. Line with parchment, grease, and flour two 8-inch/22 cm cake pans.

Melt the chocolate over a pot of gently simmering water, then beat in the butter a piece at a time until smooth. 

In a separate bowl, beat the yolks with half the sugar until thick, pale, and ribbony, about 5 minutes. In another bowl, beat the whites to peaks. Scatter over the remaining sugar and beat to a stiff meringue.

stiff peaks.

Slowly whisk the chocolate mixture into the yolk mixture. Stir in a spoonful of egg white, then pour the chocolate mixture over the egg whites and gently fold together with a spatula. Be sure not to over mix or the egg whites will lose their volume. 

there should be some streaks.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 20 minutes and then lower the heat to 325F. Bake for an additional 20 minutes, until a skewer inserted neat the middle comes out almost clean. 

Remove from the oven. Run a knife around the outside edge, and then let the cakes cool completely. The middles will sink slightly; it just means there will be more space for the chocolate ganache and raspberries.  

For the chocolate ganache, melt the chocolate and cream over a pot of gently simmering water. Let the mixture cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. 

To assemble, turn the cakes out of the pans. Place the first layer on the serving plate and spread ½ of the ganache over top. Scatter ½ of the raspberries. Repeat with the second layer of cake. Dust with icing sugar before serving. 

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