Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Ottolenghi’s Flourless Chocolate Cake

Ottolenghi’s Flourless Chocolate Cake 
Serves: 8 – 10
Ottolenghi’s Flourless Chocolate Cake  
Ottolenghi’s Flourless Chocolate Cake
I wanted a special cake for Valentine’s Day. I had numerous fabulous flourless chocolate cake recipes. And then, I came upon a unique recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi, a famous chef in London. After testing it twice, this cake was just the slice of heaven I was looking for. Hands down, it is the best – and even better the second and third day. It will also work for Passover. Great, double duty!  As holiday meals go, the Seder is an especially demanding one, requiring a list of dietary do’s and don'ts, enough courses to accompany four glasses of wine and an abundance of crowd-pleasing food. By the time dessert is finally served, everyone is hankering for a transcendent finale. This is it. Truly.

It is one of those sunken flourless chocolate cakes: rich with melted chocolate and lightened with whipped egg whites. It is slightly different though, in that you bake two thirds of the mixture first, let it cool, add the remaining mixture and bake it again. This gives different textures within the cake.
The most important ingredients...and almost the ONLY ingredients!
In any recipe, your ingredients are critically important. As there are so few ingredients in this recipe, use the best quality butter (I used Plugra) and chocolate (a combination of bittersweet and dark). I used Scharffen Berger chocolate. Plugra is a “European style” butter made in the US. The difference between the European-style butters and standard butters is the butterfat content.  Regular butter has 80% butterfat and 20% water, while butters like Plugra have about 2.5-3% more butterfat. This gives them a slightly creamier, richer taste. It is the only butter I use when baking. Scharffen Berger chocolate is made in the US and readily available in national grocers as well as specialty markets. Lastly, fully whipped egg whites are critically important. A mixer with a whisk is a savior, as it takes longer than you think to sufficiently froth the egg whites, but you will be rewarded with all the proper decadence.
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted European butter, cut into small cubes
  • Butter to coat springform pan
  • Sweetened cocoa powder for dusting springform pan
  • 3.5 ounces extra dark(bittersweet) chocolate (70+% cocoa solids), chopped into small pieces
  • 9.5 ounces dark chocolate (semisweet) (50-62% cocoa solids), chopped into small pieces
  • 1 C (packed) dark brown sugar
  • ¼ C water
  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
  • Pinch of kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degree F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan with a thin coat of butter and dust lightly with cocoa powder. Set aside.
Cocoa dusted pan
In a small saucepan, combine 1C dark brown sugar and ¼ C water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine both chocolates and the 8 ounces of butter. Pour the sugar syrup over the chocolate and butter and stir until it is all melted together.
Brown sugar....
Stir the 5 egg yolks into the chocolate mixture one at a time, whisking briskly after each addition. Lastly add 1 tsp vanilla paste. Allow the chocolate to cool to room temperature. Whisk the 5 egg whites and a pinch of kosher salt until firm. Gently fold into chocolate. Pour 2/3 of the batter into the prepared springform pan and cook for 35-40 minutes, just until a toothpick comes out clean. 
Whipped egg whites. Almost looks like a cumulous cloud.
....and combined into chocolaty goodness!
Then reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Set aside the cake until it is completely cool. Then pour the remaining batter over the top and cook for another 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center drags up barely set batter. Set aside to cool, then unmold carefully.
Nearly done.

With a rim of rasberries

The cake can be made 2 days ahead. Keep it covered in an airtight container. Decorate with a dusting of cocoa powder, or powdered sugar. Serve with fresh fruit.  Serve at room temperature.  You will not be sorry.

Bon Appetit!



  1. Hello, the original recipe calls for 290 g. muscovado, which they also state as being 1 1/4 cups. I wighted my brown sugar and 290 g. is way more than 1 cup, more close to 2 cups! Any thoughts? Thanks in advance :-)

    1. Thanks for your comment....I have made this recipe dozens of times as written but it really depends on your personal taste. If you want a sweeter cake, you might like additional sugar. Also the amount of sugar directly correlates with the %cocoa in your chocolates and degree of chocolate-ness you want...hence mix of 50-70% cocoa. lastly muscavado is different from dark brown sugar - both in their processing and flavor..and degee/taste of molasses & texture.