The first time I baked this chocolate cake, it was a resounding success. But for such a simple recipe, the next two occasions were complete flops. It had me scratching my head, wondering what went wrong.
I mulled over it for a while.
The cake fails were an odd texture before baking. On adding the eggs, the mixture would go grainy. On baking, the cakes came out without their characteristic crackly surface, a layer of melted butter completely separated from the chocolate cake ,which in itself was unrisen, and a strange, very loose texture, that looked more akin to a cow pat than a delicious chocolate cake.
I looked a lot of factors. The eggs, the oven, the chocolate and the whole method of incorporating the ingredients. Well, after a lot of faffing about and scratching my head in puzzlement, I think I’ve finally figured it out. Not only does the melted chocolate and butter mixture have to be fairly cool before adding the eggs, everything has to be lightly mixed together with a whisk. Not just with a spatula, or a wooden spoon – specifically, a whisk. It keeps the mixture aerated, makes sure everything stays nicely emulsified, and the whisking stops it curdling once the eggs are added.
The more air you add, the more the cake will dramatically rise and fall, so it’s up to you how much of a cratered appearance you’re going for. It’s never going to be the most photogenic of chocolate cakes, but it’s stunningly delicious. I stuck with 70% cocoa, followed the recipe to a tee, with a perfectly crackly salty surface, with richly chocolatey goodness hiding beneath.
If you want a full shot of the cake, here’s one from the first time I baked it below.
Almost Flourless Chocolate Cake
Adapted from Chocolate and Zucchini
- 100g 70% dark chocolate
- 100g unsalted butter
- 90g caster sugar
- 2 small eggs
- 1 1/2 tsp plain flour
- sprinkling of flaked sea salt
Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Grease and line a 15cm springform cake tin.
Melt the chocolate and butter together in the microwave or a bain-marie. Stir in the sugar and leave to cool down.
When cold, whisk in the eggs, and the plain flour. Pour into the cake tin. Level the surface and sprinkle with sea salt flakes. Pop into the oven and bake for 21 minutes until the top is set. Set onto a cooling rack to cool down, and unmould. Cut into small slices with a sharp knife. Yummy warm, and cold!