Most everyone loves chocolate cake. It's just one of those classic desserts that no one can refuse. A good chocolate cake is moist and tender, sweet but not saccharine, and very chocolaty, of course. Melted chocolate—not cocoa powder—separates an excellent chocolate cake from a mediocre one. The best quality chocolate will always yield excellent results. But what about a chocolate cake made without flour? You would think it would be horrible. But it actually works, with just two ingredients: chocolate and eggs.
The best way to describe it would be to call it a baked mousse, because basically that's what it is. Melted chocolate is first combined with a mixture of beaten egg yolks and sugar, then egg whites are folded in. I choose to flavor this cake with instant espresso powder and vanilla, both of which help heighten the chocolate flavor. The final product is a dense yet moist and tender cake just right for chocolate lovers. It also makes a great dessert for Passover since there's no flour at all.
This cake falls purposely so there's no need to think you've failed as a baker. If you have an oven with a window, keep an eye on the cake and watch it rise, then watch the surface crack. Just don't open the door too much. As the cake cools, the interior collapses somewhat and the crusty top breaks into shards. Enjoy the cake warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream on the side.
Flourless Chocolate Cake
8 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 pound semisweet chocolate, chopped or chips
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter or margarine
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom with a parchment paper round and the sides with a collar. Spray again.
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Transfer to another bowl.
Wipe mixer bowl and whisk clean. Beat egg yolks until pale and frothy. Add sugar gradually and continue to whisk until mixture is pale and ribbony.
In a large heat-proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, melt chocolate and butter. Add espresso powder and salt and stir to combine. Once chocolate has cooled slightly, stir in vanilla. Add the egg yolk mixture, a little at a time, mixing to incorporate. Fold in the egg whites in thirds until no streaks remain. Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake until a skewer inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs, about 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool slightly before removing springform. Dust with confectioners' sugar and serve warm or at room temperature. Yield: 8 to 10 slices.