daring-bakers-flourless-chocolate-cakeFebruary’s challenge is a Flourless Chocolate Cake – Chocolate Valentino – inspired by Malaysia’s “most flamboyant food ambassador”, Chef Wan.

I hit the jackpot with this the challenge this month.  A rich, flourless chocolate cake is one of my all-time favourite desserts.  I have frequently made flourless chocolate cakes using almond or hazelnut meal.  But this challenge included only a simple mix of chocolate, butter and eggs.

The simplicity of the ingredients really only adds to the complexity …  strangely enough.  I was overwhelmed by the richness and flavour of this superb cake given how few ingredients are included. 

Due to the limited ingredients, however, the end result is enormously influenced by the quality you select.  For that reason I included the best quality chocolate and butter I could afford.  In this case, the chocolate was Callebaut, and the butter was Lurpak.

This cake is incredibly quick and easy to make.  I would highly recommend it for a special occasion or a decadent after-dinner dessert.

{ Chocolate Valentino } Recipe comes from Sweet Treats by Chef Wan

* Ingredients *

16 ounces (1 pound) (454 grams) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams total) of unsalted butter
5 large eggs separated

* Directions *

Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.  While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.
Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.  Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).  With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.  Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.  Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter.  Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F/190C.  Bake for 25 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 140F/60C.  If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet.  Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.

The flourless chocolate cake was to be accompanied by homemade ice cream.  A couple of recipes were provided by our hosts.  I enjoy the creamy standard vanilla ice cream recipe from my KitchenAid ice cream maker instruction book so selected that instead.

{ French Vanilla Ice Cream }

This recipe is perfect for the 2-quart capacity of a KitchenAid ice cream maker.

* Ingredients *

1-? cups half-and-half (see note)
6 egg yolks
¾ cup sugar
1-? cups whipping cream
3 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

* Directions *

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat half-and-half until very hot, but not boiling, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and set aside.  In a mixing bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar.  Very gradually, whipping all the while, add half-and-half and mix until blended.  Return half-and-half mixture to saucepan and cook over medium heat until small bubbles form around edge and mixture is steamy, stirring constantly. Do not boil.
Transfer half-and-half mixture into large bowl. Stir in whipping cream, vanilla and salt.  Cover and chill thoroughly, at least 8 hours.
Assemble ice cream maker according to directions. Start up ice cream maker and add mixture slowly. Churn until thick, soft-serve consistency is reached.  Remove from ice cream maker.

Note :: Half-and-half is a combination of whole milk and cream (and my ‘creamer’ of choice for coffee when living in America – regrettable for my waistline!). Half-and-half typically contains 10.5 percent to 18 percent fat.  In Australia, use ‘light’ or ‘extra light’ cream.