Flourless Chocolate Cake with Salted Caramel Sauce

Yesterday was my friend Jen’s (read-head Jen, to those of you who know how many Jens I have in my life) birthday. Jen decided she wanted to go retro and have her party at a bowling alley, so a group of us met up at the Commodore to drink bad beer and bowl a few lanes in ugly shoes.

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It is a rule in my life that there must be cake on your birthday. Must be. For Jen, I wanted it to be as decadent and sinful as possible–and it had to involve chocolate. Our friend Marta also was there, and Marta is gluten-free, so I decided to make a flourless chocolate cake. The texture was described as being “somewhere between a ganache and a brownie.” The caramel sauce with a little sprinkling of fleur de sel is a sweet compliment to dark chocolate. It was declared a winner all around (unlike my bowling game), and pronounced “blog worthy!”

The birthday girl!

The birthday girl!

So, without further ado…

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Salted Caramel Sauce

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Salted Caramel Sauce

 

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces chopped chocolate, chopped (I used a mix of dark and milk–but don’t skimp on the quality of your chocolate here)
  • 1/2 cup butter, cut into pieces
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

For the caramel:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup whipping cream

Garnish:

  • fleur de sel

Method:

Cake:

  • Heat your oven to 325 degrees. Ideally, you want to use a springform pan, but just be aware that the bigger your pan, the thinner your cake will be. Mine turned out quite thin, only a little over an inch thick. This is okay, because it’s really rich, but if you want a thicker cake, use a smaller pan. I think my was an 8″. Prepare the pan by cutting a circle of parchment the same size as the bottom disc, then greasing the sides of the pan. Next, wrap the pan in two layers of aluminum foil, so that the foil makes a cross on the bottom of the pan. The idea here is to make the pan waterproof from the outside in.
  • In a double-boiler over low-medium heat, place your chocolate and butter. Allow to melt, stirring occasionally, until all the chocolate is melted, and it is a smooth, glossy liquid. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
  • While the chocolate is melting, put your eggs, whipping cream and vanilla in a large bowl, and beat well with a mixer, about five minutes, until the mixture is foamy.
  • Slowly add the egg/cream mixture to the chocolate mixture, whisking all the time. Once all of the egg/creme is incorporated into the chocolate, pour it into the prepared pan.
  • In the middle rack, place a baking sheet, and put the cake tin on it. Pour boiling water into the baking sheet, as high as you can without overflowing, and then slide the pan back into the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until it’s not jiggly in the middle anymore. Remove from oven and cool. When cool enough, run a knife around the edge of the cake, and remove it from the springform. Let cool in the fridge for a few hours.

For the caramel:

  • Quick note: caramel is tricky! And it requires a lot of patience!
  • In a heavy pot over medium heat, pour in the sugar, and then shake it to even out the layer. Set the timer for 8 minutes. Leave it. You’ll know that it’s starting to be ready when bits of amber, liquified sugar start to bubble up through the layer of sugar. Start stirring, now. Just keep folding it over and over, moving the sugar around, probably about another 8 minutes, until it is all one amber, gooey, liquid mess.
  • Put your whipping cream in a microwave-safe dish and heat it up on high for one minute.
  • Take the caramel off the heat, and slowly add the whipping cream. Be very careful! The caramel will bubble up like lava! If it gets all separated, and there are hard bits, return it to the stove, and reheat it, stirring continuously. The sugar will re-melt into the cream, eventually giving you a smooth sauce. It may not seem really thick, but as it cools, it will thicken up. Strain the sauce into a glass jar.
  • To serve: cut a slice of cake and drizzle with caramel. Finish with a sprinkle of fleur de sel.

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One comment

  1. Marianne says:

    I am still somewhat frightened by heating sugar to very high temperatures after burning my finger badly on some at Christmas. I still don’t really have any feeling in that finger…but damn this looks good.

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