Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Flour-less Cakes: A Love Story in Three Parts

That Time I Decided to Make a Bunch of Flour-less Cakes

Occasionally on this blog, I bring up the very true fact that I am a Jew. I made hamantashen and told you all the story of three-cornered hats (it's Jew-talk...don't worry about it). My first venture in bread baking was challah because duh. So what's this getting at? Passover's coming up soon!!!!!!(!!!!!!) And Passover is my (only) favorite Jewish holiday! So in an effort to find recipes for my mother to slave over help plan our upcoming seder, I went about researching flour-less cakes. Because here's the only thing you need to remember about Passover food: that shit better not have ever risen a day in its life. Because Pharoh. And the Jews. And the desert. And Pharoh again. RESEARCH TIME!

Epilogue to the Preface

My fellow Jewess blogger, The Awesome Lady Over at Smitten Kitchen, compiled an extremely helpful list of flour-less Passover friendly desserts. I decided to tackle three of her flour-less cakes while putting my own little spins on each of them. All in the name of science. And research. And my expanding waist line. But mostly, PASSOVER!

The Jews didn't have yeast in the desert but they definitely had melted chocolate.
They weren't heathens.

Part 1
Chocolate Flour-Less Cake
with Espresso Whipped Cream and Raspberries

Use your vivid imagination to insert some raspberries where
I clearly ate the raspberries before taking this picture. Please.

I picked this recipe because it involves separating a dozen eggs and I like breaking things. I also like to pretend that the really loud noise my ridiculously over powered KitchenAid Professional Mixer makes while beating the shit out of one dozen egg whites is my own personal air show, minus the planes, the tricks, and the inevitable plane-trick tragedies.

Like the clouds at an air show, but with less impending doom!

So here's the recipe, adapted ever so very tiny bit slightly from Smitten Kitchen.

  • 12 oz fine quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 6 tablespoons of water
  • 12 eggs, separated
  • 1 1/3 cups of sugar
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 7 tablespoons of sifted confectioners sugar
  • 4 tsp instant espresso dissolved in 4 tsp water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • raspberries

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease your baking pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Melt the chocolate with the water over low heat. Set aside to cool to lukewarm.
  3. Whip together the egg yolks, 2/3 cups of sugar, and salt in a mixer for 5 minutes or until pale yellow and thick. Fold in the chocolate until blended.
  4. Clean your mixer, you filthy disgrace.
  5. Beat egg whites until soft peaks are formed. Slowly add the remaining 2/3 cups of sugar and beat until stiff peaks are formed. Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to make it light. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites until blended.
  6. Evenly spread batter in your pans. Bake until puffy and the top appears dry. Rotate to ensure even baking. For my heart shaped mini pans, this took about 13 minutes. For my 5" and 6" circular pans, it took about 16 minutes.
  7. Let cool on a wire rack. When cooled, sift some cocoa powder on the top of the cakes. Place wax paper on top of the pan, then place a baking sheet on top of it all. Invert the cake onto the pan, gently removing the paper lining. Place the layers in the freezer for about an hour so that they are firmer and easier to handle when frosting.

Make the frosting!
  1. Whip all the ingredients together. BAM. You have delicious frosting.
Assemble the cake!
  1. Keep the cocoa side of the cake down.
  2. Frost the bare side with a heaping amount of whipped frosting. Place some halved raspberries on top of the frosting.
  3. Place the next layer on top and frost, frost, frost.
You know you're a Jew when you subconsciously decorate your cake with a raspberry Star of David.

I stopped at 2 layers for both of my circular cakes. My heart shaped cake used 5 layers...then I ran out of frosting. Sigh.

If salt water at Passover reminds us of the Jews' tears, this clearly reminds us of
sad we were as young Jews to not find the hidden matzah at Passover.

This cake is totally delicious. For realz. It's crazy light and airy because it has a dozen fucking eggs. My Elijah, that is SO MANY EGGS. I just want to make a million and a half egg puns here. But I'm stronger than that. Or something. Also, I've recently become a big girl and started drinking coffee. Currently my drink of choice is a grande soy cappuccino so this espresso whipped cream was right up my big-girl alley. Plus who doesn't love fresh berries with their cake? Pharoh. That's who. Fucking Pharoh.

This cake batter is very light but it could have used more plagues.
Are a few locusts too much to ask for?

Next I'm going to make this ridiculous sounding orange flour-less cake in various tiny, adorable shapes. But first...one more look at my sickeningly cute heart shaped cake. No but seriously. I feel ill after like two bites.

And Moses parted the flour-less cake so his people could escape the mighty Pharoh.


TASTE: 3/5 You know what, the cake is really good. It really is. I think I just underbaked it a bit. I chalk this up to my inexperience with making flour-less cakes (see: Never) and my overall impatience. Surprisingly, this did not stop me from gaining a solid pound eating this cake last night. Nor did it stop a mysterious member of my family from going to town on these cakes sometime between last night and this morning. Hm.
EASE: 3/5 I was actually pretty surprised how easy this cake was to make. The only points deducted from ease come from the ONE DOZEN SEPARATED EGGS. Amazing for pent up rage, however.
FILTH OF THE KITCHEN: 5/5 I - I don't know what happened. It looked like a bomb went off. A bomb went off and then another, slightly chocolate-ier, bomb went off just for good measure. It was terrifying. It was so filthy.
DID THE DOG EAT THE DOUGH: He most seriously knew what was up when I was icing the cakes. I'm pretty sure I had his full I-Don't-Know-How-to-Sit-on-Command attention.
IMPRESS-O-METER: 4/5 Flour-less seems unnecessarily tricky and espresso whipped cream seems unnecessarily mature. Overall, that's not too shabby.

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