Sunday, July 22, 2012

Flourless Chocolate Orange Liqueur Cake

Sane people, they have limits; they know where the line is; they know when to stop. They know that after a quadruple batch of Chocolate Chip Cookies (half of which was frozen and half of which was baked), a Blueberry Pie, and four dozen or so Spritz Cookies all in the span of two days, it’s time to get out of the kitchen. Insane people, on the other hand, see gorgeous pictures of chocolate cake Marialuisa’s blog and then decide that they have to make it.

Obviously, I am insane. Hi, my name is Kyleen, I am seventeen years old, and I am a bake-aholic. I know it’s unhealthy; I know that my jeans won’t forgive me; I know that I won’t be a size two much longer if I keep going through life like this. Yet, I can’t help it, I really can’t. 

Not one hour after my older brother and my dad had polished off the blueberry pie (for dinner, no less), I was in the kitchen again. As I pulled ingredients out of my baking cupboard, my older brother strolled into the kitchen.

“What are you making now?” he asked in a deadpan voice.

I replied that I was making a Flourless Chocolate Orange Liqueur Cake and claimed that it was for Mom’s birthday (which, coincidentally, was a couple months ago...).

“You know, you should really stop baking since Mom and Dad are paying for all of it. I mean, haven’t you baked enough this weekend?” he said, glancing at the box of spritz cookies that sat on the counter.

I gave him a sheepish smile. “This is the last thing, I promise.”

Upstairs, the vacuum whirred. An unusual sound at our house, where my brothers seldom do chores, but I didn’t question it because the drone drowned out the sound of my electric mixer (or at least I hoped it did) As I furtively whipped eggs for the Flourless Chocolate Orange Liqueur Cake, I stole a glance over my shoulder towards the entrance to the kitchen, hoping that I could get the cake into the oven before anyone tried to stop me. Just yesterday, Dad had mentioned that the electricity bill was sky-high, even though I only ever baked during off-peak hours. If he walked in the kitchen, the show would be over.

Over a violently boiling pan of water, I melted my chocolate and butter. I shoved the bowl of melted chocolate and butter into the fridge to cool and went back to whipping the eggs. As soon as the eggs became thick and pale and ribbon-y, I pulled the chocolate out of the fridge, which was still warm enough to burn my hand (perhaps I have thin skin). Nonetheless, I poured the chocolate into the whipped eggs and prayed that the eggs wouldn’t deflate on contact and that the chocolate wouldn’t solidify into granules of lumpy hardness. Working quickly, I folded the mixture together, poured the batter into a 10-inch springform pan, and shoved it into the oven. I let out a sigh of relief and glanced towards the entrance of the kitchen. Mission completed: the cake was in the oven. They couldn't stop me now.

Then, ten minutes later, I realized that the delicious aroma of the baking cake would be impossible to conceal.

Click below for the recipe.

Maybe the fact that this dessert has the word "liqueur" in its title lends the impression that it is a "grown-up cake," but that didn't deter me from enjoying the deep, dark chocolate-y flavour, warm tones of orange, and light airy texture. As much as I like this cake, the flavour combination is a true favourite of my mom’s. I used to make a flourless chocolate orange liqueur cake for her, but then I lost the recipe. So I adapted this recipe from Marialuisa’s recipe. Her version doesn’t require the eggs to be whipped, but because I wanted some lightness to the cake, I whipped my eggs anyways.

Flourless Chocolate Orange Liqueur Cake

Yield: 1 10-inch cake

  • 200 grams 70% chocolate 
  • 200 grams butter 
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
  • zest of one orange
  • 5 eggs
  • 250 grams powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons orange liqueur 
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar 
  • 1 tablespoon orange liqueur


Preheat oven to 375F (190C). Line the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan with parchment paper and set the pan on top of a cookie sheet.

In a medium bowl over a pan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter with the instant coffee, stirring occasionally. Allow to cool slightly. Stir in the orange zest.

In a large bowl, combine the powdered sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Whip until the eggs become triple in volume and become thick and pale yellow in colour. Pour in the cooled chocolate and using a spatula, fold gently. When there are some streaks left, add the orange liqueur and then fold to combine. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45-60 minutes, until a skewer inserted near the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool for five minutes and then loosen the sides of the cake. (I didn't loosen the sides of my cake and then it sank and cracked like crazy.) Allow the cake to sit overnight.

In  a medium bowl, combine the heavy cream, sugar, and orange liqueur. Using a handheld electric mixer, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Slice the cake and spoon a dollop of cream over top. Garnish with chocolate curls.

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