This is my second recipe for Chocolate Week and it's a fabulous dessert for the weekend ahead, no more difficult than a chocolate brownie, the method is actually pretty similar, the caramel cream served with the cake really makes this something special. There is no denying it's on the richer side the spectrum so if you want to lighten it up a little you can always serve it with some poached pear, something fresh to cut through the richness of the chocolate and cream. For me this is best served fairly quickly after baking when it is at is lightest, made with whisked egg white the cake melts in the mouth, but over time the cake becomes a little more brownie like, especially if you refrigerate it.
For the caramel cream, the way to get that rich and dark, almost bitter flavour is to properly caramelise the sugar. Place the sugar into a small pan and cook over medium heat. Once it has melted and started to caramelise you need to watch it carefully, it can burn quickly. If the sugar doesn't caramelise enough the cream will end up just tasting sweet, you need to take it right to the edge, stopping just before it burns. If the finished caramel, before adding the cream, has the colour of a dark rusty penny you should be set.
If you fancy trying the dish for yourself I will be making this on stage at the Chocolate Show at Earls court this upcoming weekend (on the 16th at 2pm) and I'll be bearing samples.
Flourless Chocolate Cake
200g unsalted butter
200g dark chocolate (around 65-70% cocoa solids)
5 large eggs, separated
150g light brown sugar
50g caster sugar
Salted Caramel Cream
100g caster sugar
Pinch of flaked sea salt
400ml double cream
To make the cream place the sugar into a saucepan and cook over medium/high heat it has melted and caramelised, turning the colour of an old rusty penny. Add the salt and swirl to combine. Pour in the cream, adding in two additions, pouring slowly as it may bubble up violently. If there are any lumps of caramel, place back over the heat and cook until smooth. Pour into a bowl and press a sheet of clingfilm onto the surface of the cream and chill until thoroughly chilled..
To make the cake line the base of a 9-inch springform tin with parchment paper and lightly grease the tin with a little butter. Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan).
Place the butter and chocolate into a bowl set over a pan of simmering water and stir until melted. Remove and set aside for the moment. Place the egg yolks and brown sugar into a large bowl and using an electric whisk mix together for about 5 minutes until thick and pale. Pour in the chocolate mixture and mix until smooth and combined.
In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites until they hold soft peaks then sprinkle in the sugar and whisk until the meringue holds soft glossy peaks. Add the meringue to the chocolate mixture in three additions, folding gently to combine. When no streaks of egg whites remain gently pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40-45 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature (it will collapse in the middle but don’t worry you want that to happen)
Serve the cake at room temperature, topped with some of the cream whipped to soft peaks.