Flourless chocolate cake made its way into just about every restaurant for awhile there, and still lives on oh so many steakhouse dessert menus. While seemingly complicated, it’s quite possibly one of the easiest cakes to make. This is not that cake. Instead, this is a riff on the infamous flourless chocolate cake recipe. In this cake - the center collapses. Its appeal comes from what I like to think was a mistake that somehow.. worked. The fallen center creates a crisp chocolate, almost wafer like, edge that houses an interior quite similar to the beloved flourless counterpart, but with a lighter crumb. The stability and airiness come from the egg whites, which also provide the cake’s structure in the absence of flour.
What recipe of mine is complete without beer, though? Bourbon is notorious for bringing out the chocolate in chocolate. Its smoke and oak mingles beautifully with the bittersweet earthy tones found in cocoa. A rich barrel aged beer further deepens those flavors, playing off the notes in the chocolate and heightened by the bourbon. The result is a decadent chocolate cake that steers clear of sugary in favor of sultry bittersweet.
Note: Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit.
- 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 1” pieces, room temperature
- 1 tbs. unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup + 2 tbs. sugar
- 5 oz. semisweet chocolate, chips or coarsely chopped
- 5 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chips or coarsely chopped
- 2 tbs. vegetable oil
- 6 large eggs
- 1 tbs. bourbon
- 1/4 cup barrel aged stout
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly butter the inside of a 9” springform pan and dust with sugar; tap off any excess.
- Create a double boiler by placing a saucepan filled with a couple of inches of water over medium heat. Bring water to simmer. Combine chocolate, oil, and butter in a heatproof bowl large enough to set over the saucepan without the bottom touching the water. Place over simmering water and heat, stirring frequently, until chocolate has melted. Remove bowl from saucepan and set aside.
- Separate 4 eggs, placing whites and yolks in separate mixing bowls. Add cocoa powder, vanilla, salt, 1/4 cup sugar, and 2 eggs to the bowl with yolks; whisk until smooth.
- Whisk the yolk mixture into the chocolate mixture, a little at a time, until well blended.
- Beat egg whites until frothy; gradually add 1/2 sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. I’m a sucker for an electric mixer for this, as the process goes much more quickly and requires less elbow grease, but whisking by hand provides a great workout!
- Carefully fold egg whites into chocolate in 2 separate additions; fold as little as possible to maintain as much volume as possible.
- Pour batter into prepared pan, smooth with a spatula, and top with remaining 2 tbs. sugar.
- Bake until top begins to crack and cake pulls away from the edges of the pan, about 35 to 45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to rest until room temperature. As the cake cools, the top will collapse in the enter and further crack, leaving crisp walls around a soft, delectable cake with a nearly gooey center.
- Top with freshly whipped cream, strawberries, and a barrel aged stout or barleywine.