You will hear me still saying “I’m still so behind with my posts!!”; unfortunately, this will be a common phrase for the next couple of posts (alas, oh! alas…). I am still continuing with a post from our wonderful Downton Abbey finale dinner from few weeks ago – I’m kind of feeling this heart constriction, the kind that you feel when you are past your deadline handing in your essay or a project. I’m wondering if my college and grad school life was that stressful for me that I’m experiencing PTSD type syndrome?! Well, all jokes aside, I am feeling a bit disappointed with myself for having this many posts “late”. I don’t think it’s the issue of disappointing the blog readers, but it’s more about meeting my own expectations… yes, I guess I am a perfectionist in many ways.
Well, let me introduce to you a wonderful gluten-free chocolate cake I found on this site. At first I was a bit hesitant trying this because it didn’t have any reviews. Also, reviews on other recipes on this site weren’t all that good; but I took a look at the recipe for this cake and thought it would work.
- 100g unsalted butter (slightly less than 1 stick of butter), plus extra for greasing
- 100g caster sugar (1/2 cup), plus extra for tin
- 100g bar dark chocolate, chopped
- 3 large eggs, separated
- 4 ripe pears (choose smaller sized pears)
- 100g (1 cup) packet ground almonds
- 2 Tbsp apricot glaze or sieved apricot jam
- Icing sugar, for dusting
- 23cm deep, fluted flan tin (9 inch tart pan)
- Baking parchment
**Note: I used “almond meals” from Trader Joe’s and it worked out perfectly; you can also grind your own almonds too.
- Set the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Butter the flan tin and put a disc of baking parchment in the base. Spoon in a little sugar and use it to coat the inside of the tin, then tip out the excess.
- Melt the butter and chocolate together, in a bowl over a pan of hot water or in a microwave oven. Leave it to cool slightly, but don’t allow it to reset.
- Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture is thick and creamy and a trail can be seen in the mixture when the whisk is lifted up. This is easiest done using a tabletop mixer, as it can take 5-10 mins, so it’s a long time to be holding a hand-held whisk.
- To prepare the pears, peel them with a vegetable peeler and then halve them. Use a melon baller, or a teaspoon, to scoop out the pips in the centre.
- Fold the melted chocolate mixture and ground almonds into the whisked egg-yolk mixture.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they’re stiff. Fold a couple of tablespoons of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, to loosen it.
- Pour the chocolate mixture into the bowl with the egg whites; pour it to one side of the egg whites rather than in the centre, to avoid knocking out too much of the air from the egg whites.
- Fold both mixtures together, using a large metal spoon, or a spatula, taking care not to overwork it or the air will be lost and the sponge won’t rise as much.
- Pour the mixture into the tin; hold the bowl just above the tin while pouring — again, so that the air isn’t lost from the mixture.
- Arrange the pear halves on top, with the cut-side down. Bake cake in the centre of the oven for 45 mins to 1 hour, or until it’s set in the centre and the mixture doesn’t wobble. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for a few minutes before transferring it to a wire rack.
- While the cake is still hot, warm the apricot glaze or jam and brush it over the top. Dredge the cake with icing sugar just before serving. It may be served warm or at room temperature.
My opinion: I was in a rush so I didn’t get a chance to ripen my pears, but it turned out very well, however, I can imagine the cake tasting heavenly with ripe pears. I also used 70% cacao dark chocolate – I thought this was perfect for adults, but maybe use lower percentage cacao if your child(ren) aren’t into dark chocolates (fortunately mine will eat up to 80% cacao). All in all this was an easy, simple and elegant dessert – just make sure you read the recipe and know the steps (ie. planning when to whip the egg whites so you can time combining ingredients).