“If it’s flourless, does it mean less calories???”

Raising the twins requires plenty of energy and a lot of work. These days I spend my time down on the floor singing songs, shaking rattles and playing peek-a-boo with my girls. Occasionally, I find a chance to open the computer, but not long enough to actively update my posts. As I am hardly in the kitchen lately, I asked a few friends if they would contribute to the blog and do a few guest posts. Here is one from my first brave soul: Beth from Boston with a deliciously sounding chocolate cake that doesn’t require flour! Which has led me to wonder: “If it’s flourless, does it mean less calories?” Happy Baking!

When I’m bringing dessert somewhere, I would always rather make cookies or bars than a whole cake. Not only because bite-size, single-serving items are pleasing to serve – but also because cookies are less intimidating to make. They require no frosting, no special cake stands. You can sample them and ensure you aren’t poisoning people. And you can set some aside for when you come back from the party and need a late night snack.

This cake, however, is terribly easy. Unintimidating to make, impressive to serve, and totally worth it, for several reasons:
-There are only 5 ingredients.
-It’s a petite little thing. At a table full of desserts, this cake will seem approachable.
-It’s gluten free (though check your cocoa powder to be sure). Dieters will even convince themselves to eat it, because it has no flour and no garish frosting.
-It’s really good.

If baking is about showing someone you care, this cake is an enthusiastic embrace. You don’t even need a party to bring it to – and you probably have the ingredients already. Best of all, even if you invert it onto a paper plate, it’s a lot more elegant than a sloppy pile of cookies.

Flourless Chocolate Cake
adapted from Gourmet, with notes for bakers in the Czech Republic

4 oz fine quality bittersweet chocolate (I like a Lindt mix of 70 and 85%, but 4oz is just a little more than one of those bars, according to my scale. So you’ll have extra. You can use it as a topping, or save those squares to eat when you get home from the party, solving that whole problem of having a late night snack waiting for you.)
1 stick/½ cup/113g unsalted butter
¾ cup sugar
3 large eggs (I don’t use large – I just look in the carton and choose the biggest ones, because sometimes there is crazy variation.)
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder plus extra for sprinkling, if you want. (I use Orion na varenie, which has just a cup or so per box. You could totally make this cake twice, very easily, and then that could be your late night snack).

Preheat the oven to 375F/190C.
Butter an 8 inch round baking pan, line it with wax paper (I use parchment) and butter the paper. (A note on the pan – I use a silicone pan I got at Tesco, and the flexibility makes it ideal for this kind of cake. A metal pan would be fine, too.)
Chop the chocolate into small pieces.
In a double boiler (feel free to improvise with different size pans – just make sure the water in the pan underneath is barely boiling), melt the chocolate with the butter, stirring until smooth.
Remove the chocolate from the heat and whisk in sugar, then eggs.
Sift in ½ cup cocoa powder and whisk until just combined.
Pour batter into pan and bake 25 minutes, or until a thin crust is formed on top.
Cool in pan for 5 minutes and then invert onto a serving plate.

Then comes the best part. You can leave the cake just as it is (simple and lovely), or personalize it however you want. Lily-gilding options include:

-Making a ganache (heat up 1 cup cream and pour over 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, stirring until chocolate is melted. Let it cool to room temp and whip until it becomes frosting.)
-Tossing some raspberries on top and around the edges. Or toasted peanuts and coconut flakes.
-Opening a can of Tatra Caramel and making a swirly design on top.
-Cutting the cake into brownies – or use a star-shaped cookie cutter (this defeats the whole pretty presentation idea, but does allow you to eat the scraps and make sure you aren’t poisoning people).
-Shaving some chocolate curls on top, dusting on some extra cocoa powder, and sticking a sprig of mint in the middle. Or rosemary – whatever! People will think you are being exotic!
-Serving the cake with ice cream – but you know what’s more interesting than ice cream, and really delicious? Mascarpone cheese. With a little honey swirled in, and some cardamom or nutmeg sprinkled on top.

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