The cake that did not have any flour

Gluten Free Cakes have always intrigued me. For ages, I have only made cakes that have flour, trusty old maida, as the basis for a cake's main structure. I couldn't imagine a cake that has no flour. A few years ago, when I had seen a recipe for a flourless cake on Food Network, I couldn't believe my eyes. I was not much of a baker then - but I knew enough (but in hindsight, not enough) about cakes to find the particular recipe - for the lack of a better term - different. I couldn't comprehend how a cake could be flourless. I kept imaging it to be a dense, wet, gooey mass of batter that had set in the shape of cake. Fortunately tastes (and my knowledge about food) have evolved since then - and I realise and appreciate the  presence and the need of good flourless cakes. As is with intolerance to egg, it's very difficult for people who suffer from a gluten allergy to eat any dish that has any traces of flour in it.
It's so difficult to figure out what has flour and what doesn't. Cake is a long way off.

For any outing these days, I volunteer a cake. I don't ask, I just bake. So mostly, these are places where I do the full blown experimental thing - oooh I saw this recipe...I have to try this...oh, I have to make/bake that! That way, I get to try something new and everyone wins. Right? So that's how there came to be a 4 tiered, eggless Black Forest. Even though the cake was not as spongy (absence of eggs and all), it tasted the exactly the same - billowing layers of cream, interspersed with sweet tangy cherries and so deliciously boozy (obviously because I decided that even though it didn't have eggs, it could always have rum). But I am going off the track here. Because I'll tell you about that cake to.  This is about a flourless cake - one which I had promised my cousin - a special cake, instead of the Black Forest - that would be only for her, that would be gluten free, and hopefully as good as cake gets.

The one fairly weak attempt I made earlier this year (which is not on the blog, because the cake, even though it tasted good, had all kinds of technical mistakes, and you really don't want to know about them) was an orange souffle cake, but I wanted something that was pure chocolate, and something that was more cake than souffle.This Cloud cake on Nigella's website seemed to be the one I wanted. The original cake does have orange but I replaced that with vanilla bean/vanilla extract. If you like the whole chocolate/orange combination, then go ahead and add zest. The cake rises beautifully in the centre when baking but sinks in the centre as it cools and settles into a lovely fudgy cake with a light crust. Its moist, yet crumbly so you feel like you have eaten cake.

Chocolate Cloud Cake
recipe from Classic Home Desserts by Richard Sax via Nigella Bites

For the cake
125 gram(s) dark chocolate
60 gram(s) unsalted butter (softened)
3 medium eggs (2 separated, 1 whole)
80 gram(s) powdered sugar
1 tsp Vanilla extract
For the cream topping

For the topping
200 ml double or whipping cream
½ teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
½ teaspoon(s) cocoa powder (unsweetened) for sprinkling

To make the cake

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line the bottom of the cake tin (I used an 8 inch round tin) with butter paper.

2. Melt the chocolate either in a double boiler or a microwave, then add the butter to the chocolate and let it melt.

3. Beat 1 whole egg with the 2 egg yolks with 30g of the sugar, then gently add the chocolate mixture and vanilla.

4. In another bowl, whisk the 2 egg whites until foamy, then gradually add the 50g of sugar and whisk until the whites are holding their shape but not too stiff.

5. Lighten the chocolate mixture with a dollop of egg whites, and then fold in the rest of the whites. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the cake is risen and cracked and the centre is no longer wobbly. Cool the cake in its tin on a wire rack; the middle will sink as it cools.

 6. When you are ready to eat, place the still tin-bound cake on a cake stand or plate for serving and carefully remove the cake from its tin. Don't worry about cracks or rough edges. Whip the cream until it's soft and then add the vanilla and continue whisking until the cream is firm but not stiff.

7. Fill the centre of the cake with the whipped cream or if you want to make it even more special, pipe it on, easing it out gently towards the edges of the cake, and dust the top lightly with cocoa powder and Serve.


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