Saturday, February 28, 2009

Dare to make cake with no flour

It sort of boggles my mind that a "cake" can be made with eggs, chocolate and butter -- and that's it. Don't you need some grain or carbs in there to give it substance? Well, it seems apparently not.

For February the Daring Bakers made Flourless Chocolate cakes with Homemade Ice Cream!:
Flourless chocolate cake with vanilla bean ice cream and strawberry glaze

The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef.
We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

I placed a heart shaped cookie cutter on the cake
before dusting with powdered sugar

The Chocolate Valentino is a flourless chocolate cake which basically takes on the flavor of whatever chocolate you use. I had just completed THIS the week before, which ended up costing an arm and a leg due to investing in higher quality chocolate. So I went a bit cheap on the chocolate for the Valentino; maybe that's why I didn't enjoy the cake so much, since we were warned the cake would taste precisely like the chocolate we used. I've commented a couple times here that I am not really a chocolate person; so that did not help things either. I did, however love how the cakes rose in the oven as if they were souffles. All those egg whites did them good!

I know, I know - I just used plain ole Bakers semisweet but did half Ghirardelli milk.
Bottom right is yolks mixed with chocolate while upper shot is folding egg whites in.

There was a lot of batter in 1 recipe! I made 6 large and 4 tiny cakes

For the ice cream portion, I skipped the suggested recipes and made David Lebovitz's Vanilla Ice Cream from his The Perfect Scoop book. While this was very good and very rich - I might actually reduce the egg yolks next time. The recipe called for 6 yolks and since I did half again the recipe it would have called for 9. NINE EGG YOLKS! I'm sorry - I couldn't do it. I think I ended up doing about 7 yolks and then threw in a whole egg to make up for the 2 more yolks. Believe me, it was PLENTY rich and quite yellow!

I left those vanilla beans to infuse as long
as possible - overnight in this case

Another thing I'd probably do with the ice cream recipe is add more salt. I know - to people who don't do a lot of cooking or baking, this might sound weird. Salt in sweets?? But yes - salt is very important to bring out the sweetness in things. It really works as a flavor enhancer and you don't taste the salt. I guess what I'm saying is, next time I won't make Lebovitz's vanilla ice cream and instead should perhaps just stick to what's not broke: family recipes...
Ice cream has to be made at least a day before serving so that it can
firm up in the freezer for at least 5-8 hours

Finally I opted for a strawberry coulis or glaze to accompany the very rich chocolate cake. I wanted to do raspberry but alas... no South American raspberries to purchase mid-February at my local Safeway. I wasn't about to do multiple grocery store stops for the accompanying glaze (heck, like I said - I didn't even go out of my way to buy good chocolate) so it became a strawberry sauce. I think raspberry would have been nicer with its added tang. The strawberry was just a bit too sweet.

Cooked the strawberries with a little water; added sugar and lemon juice
then blended and strained before thickening with a bit of cornstarch

Can you see what I'm getting at?... I've been hinting in each paragraph: I didn't like this dessert. It was a fun challenge but I'd do each element differently if I were ever to make it again. And I probably wouldn't. Still, we learn new things from every challenge and I'm happy to do each of them.

Very rich and moist on the inside

As I would imagine most folks also did, I served this for Valentine's dinner. We had John & Janelle, their dog Abby and their foster dog, Shelby over for dinner that night. I promised anyone who helped me take care of Lucca, a very nice dinner. So a very nice dinner they got!

Okay, do you KNOW how hard it is to get a shot like this?
BFFs Abby & Lucca on Valentine's Night

Lots of fantastic [and let's be honest - much better] variations out there in Daring Baker land today. Stop by to see some others. And if you'd like the recipe please visit either of the hosts' blogs.


  1. Congratulations, your photos are so pretty and im sure the cake and ice cream are delicious!

  2. Gorgeous, elegant plating, Lisa. I also took the trawberry and chocolate road, but mine is too cheesy when compared to yours..LOL

  3. Mmm wow! This looks deliicious, I bet the strawberry with the chocolate and vanilla was so good!

  4. I think you are very creative for marking a heart shape on your round cupcake, instead of baking a heart shaped cake like the rest of us..

  5. love to see the cake in the ramekins like souffle... great job!

  6. Lisa, first of all, I can't resist to comment on your 2 beautiful looking doggies. I love dogs, have two my self!

    Okay, now the challenge. You did very well there, I love the presentation, I think they are irresistible!

  7. Mmmmm, everything looks so good, love it! Well done!

  8. Your cakes are so beautiful in ramekins. Strawberries and chocolate are one of my favorites. Great job!

  9. This looks so scrumptious. Well done!

  10. Hi neighbor! ;)
    Yours looks so cute and delicious!! And your friend's dogs are adorable!

  11. Wow, your little cakes look incredible! My cake looked very nice and risen when it came out of the oven, but then it deflated. No worries, it is still delicious!

  12. This wasn't my favorite chocolate cake either, but yours looks lovely. I think the strawberry is a nice contrast to the somewhat single-sided chocolate.

  13. Great job on your challenge. The plating and ice-cream flavour looks great.