This Yotam Ottolenghi’s flourless chocolate teacakes from his new book Sweet call for dark chocolate with 70% cocoa solids. What is it? In general, the higher the cocoa percentage, the stronger and, perhaps, more bitter, the chocolate flavor. We’re on the right track!
I buy dark chocolate in bulk, for good reasons. Trader Joe’s sells one “pound-plus” dark chocolate (72% cacao) for $4.99. That’s my goto pantry staple as well as the house chocolate. It’s economical and will keep for years (if we can keep our hands off them) when stored in a cool dark place in the pantry drawer. It’s reassuring that there’ll always be dark chocolate around whenever the baking bugs strike.
I have made these teacakes multiple times since I got the cookbook Sweet a few weeks ago. They are popular in our house because they are light, as far as chocolate cakes go, gluten-free and charming in miniature size. I like to bake them in mini bundt pans of all shapes. Drizzle with the chocolate ganache that puts a lovely sheen on these dark chocolate cakes. From my experience, these little teacakes grace a dessert table for any occasion. I made dozens of these and cobbled together an enormous festive cake for my dad’s birthday.
This recipe does not require tempering the chocolate, a plus because it has given me troubles before. Tempering is an elaborate mixing technique that finely controls the temperature. It’s necessary in order to avoid white streaks which give the chocolate a slightly dull appearance.
It does require separating the eggs into yolks and whites. The melted chocolate is mixed into the whisked egg yolks and sugar. The egg whites are beat in high-speed in the stand-mixer until soft peaks form. Then dollops of egg whites are folded and combined with the chocolate mixture. The egg whites magically lighten the cakes; there is no leavening agent in this recipe. Now I know why these chocolate teacakes are so light and soft. Credit to the whipped egg whites.
Ottolenghi warns against skipping the final step of resting the batter before baking. That allows the almond meal (and no wheat flour) to fully absorbs the liquids and, in turn, moistens the final cakes. No reason not to adhere strictly to this well-tested and well-written recipe to a T.
I’m linking this post to IHCC which features chocolate and/or vanilla for this week’s ingredient challenge.
Flourless Chocolate TeacakesPrint Recipe
- 1/2 cup plus 3 tbsp/ 160g unsalted butter, cubed, plus 1 1/2 tbsp/ 25g, melted, for brushing
- 7 oz/ 200g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), roughly chopped
- 3/4 cup/ 150g granulated sugar
- 1 tsp instant coffee granules, dissolved in 1 tsp boiling water
- 1 tbsp plus 2 tsp/ 25ml Amaretto
- 1 3/4 cups/ 160g almond meal
- 5 large eggs, whites and yolks separated
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Almond Praline:
- 1/2 cup/ 50g sliced almonds
- 1 tbsp water
- 1/2 cup/ 70g granulated sugar
- Water Ganache:
- 3 oz/ 85g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), roughly chopped into 3/4-inch/ 2-cm pieces
- 2 1/2 tbsp/ 40g granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp plus 2 tsp/ 35g light corn syrup or maple syrup
- 1/4 cup/ 60ml water
- scraped seeds of 1/2 vanilla pod
- 2 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 3/4-inch/ 2-cm cubes
Place the butter and chocolate in a large heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the base of the bow isn't touching the water. Whisk the mixture and, when melted, remove the bowl from the heat. Add half the sugar, along with the dissolved coffee granules, Amaretto, almond meal and egg yolks. Stir to combine and then set aside.
Place the egg whites and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment in place. Beat on high speed for about 1 minute, until soft peaks form. Slowly add the remaining sugar and continue to beat for 3-4 minutes, until the mixture is light and dry.
Spoon one dollop of the egg white into the chocolate and fold to combine before gently folding in the reminder. Set aside at room temperature for an hour to set.
Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Brush the base and sides of the Bundt or muffin pans liberally with melted butter, allowing the excess to drain away by placing them upside down on some paper towels.
Once the cake batter has rested, spoon or pipe in into 6 molds (or 12, if making in the muffin pan), filling them three-quarters full. Place the molds on a baking sheet in the center of the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating halfway through, until the cakes are cooked and a skewer inserted into the center of a cake comes out with just a few crumbs attached (not wet batter). Remove from the oven and allow the cakes to sit for 10 minutes before inverting the molds onto a wire rack.
TO MAKE THE ALMOND PRALINE, line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Spread the sliced almonds out on a lined baking sheet and roast for 10-12 minutes, stirring halfway through, until lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside on the baking sheet.
Place the water in a small pan and add the sugar. Stir with a small spoon, then place over low heat until the sugar has melted. Increase the heat to medium and gently boil the sugar, swirling the pan from time to time until the mixture turns a clear amber color. Remove from the heat and stir in the almonds. Pour the almond caramel onto the second lined baking sheet to form a thin layer. If you need to, use a wet spoon or knife to flatten it out a bit. Allow to cool until crisp, then break into as many shards as you are making cakes.
TO MAKE THE WATER GANACHE, place the chocolate in a medium bowl and set aside. Put the sugar and corn syrup in a small saucepan and place over medium-low heat. Stir to combine and when the sugar has melted, increase the heat to medium and bring to a boil, stirring gently from time to time. Continue to boil for about 7 minutes, until the color is pale amber. Remove from the heat and carefully pour in the water. Don't worry if the mixture seizes; just return the pan to the heat. Add the scraped vanilla seeds and stir gently and continuously until it returns to a boil. Remove from the heat and wait for a minute before pouring the water-caramel over the chocolate. Allow to stand for 5 minutes, then whisk to combine. Add the butter, a couple cubes at a time, whisking after each addition. Continue until all the butter has been added, whisking to combine until the mix is smooth and shiny.
Spread some water ganache over the top of each cake, allowing it to gently dribble down the sides. Set aside to cool and set, then serve with a large shard of praline inserted into the top.
Adapted from Sweet by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh