Our wonderful co-hosts Dharm and Wendy gave us an easy and delicious flourless chocolate cake recipe called "Chocolate Valentino" for this month's Daring Bakers' challenge, but they also asked us to pair it with a homemade ice cream. Even though the challenge recipe was one of the easiest Daring Bakers' recipes we've had to date, I had to turn to Ben and Jerry for help with the second part of the challenge. It's been about 9 or 10 years since I've made my own ice cream and my ice cream machine was not stored in my garage as I originally thought, but actually stored at my parents' house. So my apologizes to Wendy and Dharm for failing the ice cream part of the challenge.
The "Chocolate Valentino" recipe comes from Chef Wan, Malaysia's eccentric rock star chef and food ambassador. It simply contains chocolate, butter and eggs. I don't think a cake can get much easier than that. Because there is nothing to hide behind, the cake will taste only as good as the chocolate used, so I used my favorite brand for baking - Valrhona. I used a 70% cacao chocolate because I didn’t want the cake to be too bittersweet. Also, less cacao means more sugar and more sugar means more moisture added to the cake.
The batter was a breeze to whip up. Like with most flourless chocolate cake batters, the most technical part was making sure the egg whites were not over beatened. They should be beaten to stiff peaks but not dry (they should still be shiny and glossy). At this stage, the egg whites will provide the maximum expansion for a souffle-like result and excellent moisture inside when baked. Over beaten whites will make the cake dry. Of course folding the beaten whites into the chocolate-yolk mixture with minimal deflation is also key. You want to maintain the air you worked so hard to achieve. Deflated egg whites will give you a flat cake.
I divided the recipe into 3/5 which was the perfect amount to fill three heart shaped ramekins. It was also easy to divide the recipe into 3/5 since the original recipe called for 5 eggs. The cakes puffed up and then settled down a bit while they cooled, leaving a nice crust. I must say that they turned out great. It was melt-in-your-mouth tender and so delicious when paired with the ice cream.
16 ounces (1 pound) (454 grams) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams total) of unsalted butter
5 large eggs separated
Note: For a real Valentino, bake it in a heart shaped pan or cut it out into a heart shape. You may use any shape pan that gives you an area of 50” - 6x8 or 7x7. An 8” spring form pan works with great results as do smaller pans or ramekins.
1. Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.
2. While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.
3. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.
4. Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).
5. With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.
6. Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.
7. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter.
8. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F/190C.
9. Bake for 25 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 140F/60C. (Note – If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet.)
10. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.
The fine print:
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.
My 3/5 recipe ingredients:
9.6 oz (273 g) chocolate
3 oz (6 tbsp/87.6g) unsalted butter
3 large eggs, separated