March 9, 2006
Flourless Colombian Espresso Chocolate Cake

choco_cake_jf.jpgI'm normally very hesitant to bake here at this altitude. Everyone in BogotŠ has a horror story about something not rising properly or being undercooked (our own story is the sad tale of peanut butter cookies never to satisfy their raison díÍtre). I figured the best way to combat my fear would be to bake something without flour or baking powder. I remembered an ad in a magazine recently for Green & Blacks, containing recipes. So I went to their website and saw a recipe for flourless chocolate cake. Perfect, I thought, for the Ambassatrix's birthday. A seriously fudgey concoction.

By the way, I'm calling it a "Colombian" chocolate cake not because you'd ever see something like this in Colombian cuisine, but because I used Santander Colombian chocolate bars, with bits of espresso in them. For the price, Santander is a tough chocolate to outshine.

The cake, by the way, received rave reviews (even from one woman who admittedly doesn't love chocolate deserts). While the recipe says it serves 10, we served 14, and no one was left hungry. This is a pretty dense piece of cake. A little goes a long way.

So without further ado...

Flourless Colombian Espresso Chocolate Cake
adapted from Green & Blacks

If you have no scale, and you need to convert grams to cups, try this page.

300g Dark 70% Chocolate (I used about half with espresso bits and half "regular" 70%)
275g Caster sugar (I used regular sugar, actually)
165g Unsalted butter
Pinch of sea salt
5 eggs
Icing sugar
1 T ground almonds plus extra for dusting the tin (maybe a total of 3 T to 1/4 cup)

1) Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Grind up almonds (sliced or slivered makes it easier) in a coffee grinder.
2) Butter and dust a cake tin (20cm or 23cm (8in or 9in) cake tin with removable base or similar-sized tart tin) with a removable base.
3) Put the first 4 ingredients in a bowl over barely simmering water and allow to melt.
4) Whisk the eggs with the ground almonds and then fold into the chocolate mixture with a spatula off the heat until entirely incorporated.
5) Pour into the cake tin and bake for between 35 and 40 minutes.
6) Allow to cool, and dust with icing sugar. If you're feeling real fancy-pants, dust with cocoa powder first and then, using a stencil, icing sugar. Use your imagination. Your stencil doesn't have to be an homage to the Vietnamese flag.

Because this wasn't decadent enough (ha!) I thought it necessary to top off each slice with some Prager Port Chocolate Drizzle. That touch really made it gourmet. Oh yeah.

Posted by Justin in BogotŠ at March 9, 2006 5:33 AM Print-friendly version

Love it. I understand the problem with boiling things at high altitude. Can you explain the problem with baking with flour and baking powder?

Is it similar in that the steaming happens at a lower temperature, or is it a lack of air pressure so you end up with way too poofy cakes if you follow the sea level recipe?

Posted by barrett on March 9, 2006 at 8:47 AM

A great baking book, and reference, is the book Chocolate Snowball by Letty Flatt, a baker and pastry chef who lives in Utah. Highly recommended!

Posted by David on March 9, 2006 at 9:11 AM

Quite an appropriate cake for an Ambassatrix I might just know... would you know how cyclonic pressure and island humidity affects such a cake?

Wish I could have been there.

Posted by Melissa on March 9, 2006 at 12:25 PM

well it looks delish and i wish i could have tasted a piece--- could it have stretched to 15???? do you remember my pseudo-flourless torte? was either better than the other? this looks easy-- no separating eggs and folding in the whites. i'll soon give it a try!

Posted by Diesel on March 16, 2006 at 9:18 AM

Barrett, I don't know too much about the chemistry/physics of high altitude cooking. I should look into it.

Posted by Justin on March 17, 2006 at 1:36 PM
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