March can be a month that drags and drags, as we wait with baited breath for spring to (finally) arrive, and for better things to come. To ease this ever long month I bake cake, and this one is generous in flavour and a showstopper to boot.
This flourless number is a delicious example of just how eggs work their magic in baked goods. There is nothing else to make this chocolate cake rise except for the eggs. Usually there is baking soda or powder stirred into flour and ta-da, you have cake. But, in this case none of those ingredients exist. Instead, half a dozen egg yolks and granulated sugar are beaten together into a thick, creamy ribbon. Then the glorious combination of melted dark chocolate and butter is carefully beaten in. To this, I added some Creme de Menthe, just a couple of tablespoons, as I quite like the chocolate/mint combo, but honestly any liqueur will do. Grand Marnier, Frangelico, Amaretto are all good choices. No booze? No problem. Just add a teaspoon of vanilla.
The egg whites are beaten until they’re voluminous and light, then carefully folded into the chocolate mixture. That’s it for the batter. It bakes to lofty heights in a springform pan, but once removed, it will gradually collapse into a crater, complete with characteristic cracks. This is normal, and it’s a good thing. You may fight all the urges to pry apart the ring of the pan and cut off a slice while it is warm. Don’t do that. The cake will tear apart very easily. Let it cool completely - heck, even overnight if you can handle it, then slice a wedge for you and your loved ones. There is a tantalizing richness here - the cake almost melts in your mouth.
You can prepare the cake the day ahead, or at least a few hours before you want to eat. While you don’t have to be eating gluten free to enjoy a wedge of this chocolate heaven, it will get you ample bonus points when serving it to someone who does. Serve with a healthy dollop of whipped cream and some fresh berries. If you’re into the dessert for breakfast thing, this chocolate concoction is quite agreeable with good, strong coffee.