Flourless Chocolate Almond Cake
Makes one 9-inch cake
Don’t let the lengthy instructions dissuade you from making this cake. It’s actually easier than it looks and is sure to satisfy an intense chocolate craving. Commercially prepared almond paste often contains wheat; for this reason I have included a recipe for almond paste below. This cake keeps exceptionally well, covered at room temperature, and can be made 1 day ahead of time.
8 ounces semisweet dairy-free chocolate*, chopped
3/4 cup canned light coconut milk
2 teaspoons gluten-free vanilla extract
1/4 cup almond meal flour
6 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup canned light coconut milk
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet dairy-free chocolate*, finely chopped
11/4 cups sliced almonds, toasted
Almond Paste (see below)
To prepare the cake: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper, generously grease the paper and sides of the pan, and set aside.
In a food processor, grind the chocolate into a coarse meal. Heat the coconut milk in a saucepan over medium-high heat, until it just reaches a boil. Pour the milk over the chocolate in the food processor and pulse until smooth. Transfer the chocolate to a large bowl. Stir in the vanilla and almond meal flour.
Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar on high speed for 4 minutes, or until the mixture has doubled in volume. Fold the eggs into the chocolate mixture until just incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a dry crust forms on top but the center is still slightly soft, 20 to 22 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and allow the cake to cool completely, about 11/2 hours.
Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight to set. The cake will fall as it cools. Before removing the cake from the pan, lightly press down on the top of the cake to compact it further and to even out the crusty top. Remove the sides of the pan. Using the cake pan as a guide, cut out a 9-inch cardboard round and place it on top of the cake. Invert the cake onto the round, gently brush away any large crumbs. The cake can be prepared 1 day ahead if tightly covered and kept at room temperature.
To finish the cake: Roll the almond paste between 2 sheets of plastic wrap to a thickness of about 1/8 inch. Cut out a 9-inch circle, using the bottom of the cake pan as a guide. Place the almond circle atop the cake. Transfer the cake to a wire rack and place the rack over an extra-large bowl. The bowl will be used to catch the excess chocolate glaze.
To prepare the glaze and decorate the cake: Set a small saucepan over low heat and melt the coconut milk and chocolate, stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat and cool until the glaze is almost set but still spreadable.
Spread the sides of the cake with just enough glaze to even out any imperfections, taking care not to let any crumbs get into the remaining glaze. Slowly reheat the glaze over low heat until it is smooth and just pourable, but not thin and runny. Pour the remaining glaze into the center of the cake and, working quickly, spread it over the top of the cake and around the sides, working the glaze as little as possible.
Allow the glaze to cool slightly. Sprinkle the almonds around the outer edge of the top of the cake, forming a 11/2-inch border. Gently press the almonds onto the sides of the cake so they adhere to the glaze. Transfer the cake to a platter and allow the glaze to set for about 30 minutes. Serve at room temperature.
1 1/2 cups almond meal flour
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
To prepare the almond paste: Place the almond meal flour in a food processor. In a medium saucepan combine the sugar, water, and lemon juice over medium-high heat. Stir the mixture until the sugar dissolves and begins to boil.
When it begins to boil, start a timer and boil the syrup for 31/2 minutes, until it reaches the soft ball stage or until a candy thermometer reaches 240°F. (The soft ball stage is the point at which a drop of boiling syrup dropped in cold water forms a soft ball.) With the motor running, begin pouring the syrup into the processor in a slow stream, and process until fully incorporated, about 2 minutes. Spread a piece of plastic wrap on the counter and spoon the paste onto the center. Shape the paste into a log and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 week to cure or up to a month. To work with the paste, bring it to room temperature before rolling it out.
Excerpted from The Dairy-Free & Gluten-Free Kitchen by Denise Jardine Copyright © 2012 by Denise Jardine. Excerpted by permission of Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House of Canada Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.