No Cake For Me

Mr Midlife and I have just returned from a long trek on foot through the snow.  This is the beginning of our joint agreement to get fit; it’s also a great way to beat winter cabin fever.

On the way back we trudged into town on a couple of errands and came across a lovely newly opened coffee shop.  Needless to say, it was too much for us to get past the door without popping in for an essential sampling.  The place is cosy; each table lit by a different lamp (these are also for sale in the shop at the front), and our table had a crackled glass bowl full of fairy lights to welcome us.  The hot chocolate I ordered was very hot and very chocolatey – yummy.

And although we had no intention of ordering food from the limited menu, it did occur to me that I should never be able to eat there as the entire menu consisted of bread and cake based goods.  As a midlife coeliac I am used to this being the case here in the UK; however it is frustrating and always a little disappointing when I find somewhere I like the look and feel of.

I had a conversation with the middle aged, affable and helpful proprietor, who tells me that she would be happy to stock some gluten free goods.  The only problem is that she doesn’t get asked often enough for GF food to justify much of a range.  I reckon, however, that if she were to advertise the coffee shop as a place which does cater for coeliacs, then she’d do quite well out of it.  There are plenty of us around, judging by the speed at which the GF bread disappears from the supermarket shelf in our town.

So, sitting once more at my desk this afternoon, I was thinking about a good GF recipe that the coffee shop owner might use.  I recall my husband making us a flourless chocolate cake a while back, which the entire family enjoyed as it was so delicious.

I intend to make it again and take some down for the coffee shop as a trial.  So here it is.  Let me know what you think.

Flourless Chocolate Cake (Gluten Free)


260 g (9  ¼ oz) dark chocolate (55% cocoa), finely chopped
135 ml (4 ½ fl oz) milk
40 g (½oz) yoghurt
4 eggs
105 g (3 ¾ oz) caster sugar, for eggs
4 egg whites
160 g (5 ¾ oz) caster sugar, for egg whites
135 ml (4 ½ fl oz) pouring (whipping) cream (35% fat)
55 g (2 oz) unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

Method for Recipe

  1. Preheat oven to 150C (300F / Gas 2). Grease a 20 cm (8 inch) springform cake tin and line the base and sides with baking paper – the paper should rise about 2.5 cm (1 inch) above the tin rim.
  2. Put the chocolate in a large stainless steel bowl and place over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl does not touch the water – the bowl must be large enough to hold the whole cake mix. Allow the water in the saucepan to boil for 2 minutes, then turn off the heat and stir the chocolate while it slowly melts.
  3. Put the milk and yoghurt in a saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to the boil. Turn off the heat – you should have a curdled milk mixture.
  4. Put the eggs and the sugar for the eggs in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk the eggs at medium speed for about 10 minutes, or until the mixture is very light and has doubled in volume.
  5. In a very clean bowl, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks, then slowly add the sugar for the whites, whisking until soft peaks form a shiny meringue. Be careful not to overwhisk. Place in the refrigerator.
  6. Whisk the cream until soft peaks form and place in the refrigerator until needed.
  7. You should have ready to fold together the melted chocolate, curdled milk, whipped eggs, meringue, whipped cream and cocoa powder. Pour the curdled milk into the chocolate and use a whisk to mix it in, then add the cocoa and whisk to completely incorporate. Fold in the whipped eggs in three batches, making sure you completely incorporate the first batch before adding more – do not worry too much if you can still see streaks of eggs with the following batches. Lightly fold the meringue into the whipped cream, taking care not to knock out too much air. Fold this into the chocolate mix in three batches, making sure you incorporate the first batch before adding more.
  8. Using a spatula, scoop the cake batter into the prepared tin and tap it twice gently on the bench to even out the mix. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes. (If you smell the cake cooking within the first 25 minutes your oven is too hot and you need to drop the temperature.)
  9. Do not disturb the cake for the first 45 minutes of cooking, after which time you should rotate it to ensure even cooking. You may need to cover the top of the cake with baking paper and lower the oven temperature if the top of the cake is starting to brown. Test to see if the cake is baked by gently placing your hand on top of it and wobbling it a little, you should feel that the cake has set through. Remove from the oven the allow to cool for about 30 minutes in the tin before removing the sides. When completely cool, slide the cake onto a serving plate, to serve.
  10. It is best to use a sharp fine-bladed knife to cut this cake. Have a jug of very hot water, dip the knife in, and leave for about 10 seconds to warm the blade through. Dry the knife on a tea towel before slicing. Repeat this process after every slice for a perfectly clean cut.  Serves 12.

This chocolate cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 1-2 days, and can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.  It tastes equally great when warmed up in a 150C (300F / Gas 2) oven for about 10 minutes to liven it up again. The cake is also delicious when cut into portions and steamed for about 6-8 minutes and topped with fresh berries and thick double cream or Greek yogurt.



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