December 01, 2011

flourless chocolate cake...with raspberries

This cake brings good tidings, to you and you and you and me. I imagine, writing this only a week after I made it, that I will always remember this cake. I will remember it because it is amazingly rich and fudgy and spotted with raspberry sweetness, but also because it was the cake that marked the end of our first Thanksgiving abroad. A Thanksgiving that also happened to be the first one that Zach and I spent together. There was no need to discuss whose family we would grace with our presence because we simply couldn't get back to the states for the holiday. Instead, we spent Thanksgiving with what we consider to be our new family, the group of friends we have made here in Zürich. And it was wonderful.

In truth we had two Thanksgivings, one on Thursday and one on Saturday, and both were wonderfully festive, full of laughter, gratitude and a lot of stuffing.
Behold the magic ingredient, nine eggs. Yes nine. Nine yolks whipped into the creamed butter and then nine whites, beaten into stiff white peaks, and folded into the chocolatey batter.

Our first Thanksgiving on Thursday, where this cake made its appearance, was at my friend Jess's apartment. It was an impromptu dinner. Her parents were in town and we all wanted to celebrate. She and her mom roasted a few chickens and whipped up some potatoes and green beans and I made some stuffing and this cake. Chocolate cake is not typical Thanksgiving fare, but Jess is gluten free, and so apple pie and pumpkin pie just wouldn't do. Besides we were already breaking tradition with our chickens we might as well throw a kink in it with chocolate, which really only makes sense considering we live in Switzerland.

Anyway back to my point about nine eggs. Jess's mom mom knew right away that there must be a lot of eggs in this cake. She is from Lima, Peru, and apparently there is a similar, traditional, cake made with eleven eggs. I'll have to try that one next.
Flourless Chocolate Cake
apparently this recipe is from the Macrina Bakery in Seattle Washington - that doesn't mean anything to me, but perhaps it will mean something to you.

* A note about the raspberries - I know, I know, they aren't in season right now and I almost skipped buying them, but then I found a little package for 2chf and grabbed them, and I'm so glad I did, they are essential. Don't skip them, hunt them down. Or print this recipe and save it for a summer day.

- 10 oz/285 g bittersweet chocolate (about 65%)
- 9 eggs
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
- 2 cups fresh raspberries
- powdered sugar (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350º F / 180º C. Butter a 9" springform pan.

You will need to set up a double-boiler to melt the chocolate so find a heat proof bowl (stainless steal or pyrex) that fits perched on top of a pot, without touching the bottom of the pot. Pour 2 inches of water in the bot, bring to a boil and then place your bowl on top of the pot, making sure it does not come in contact with the water. Put your roughly chopped chocolate into the bowl and stir gently until the chocolate has melted. Remove the bowl from the pot, and turn off the heat.

Separate the egg yolks from the whites, placing each in separate bowls. If you only have 1 mixer, like I do, then poor the whites into the bowl of your standing mixer and beat with the whisk attachment until medium-stiff peaks form. Scoop out this mixture into another bowl so that they will be ready to use and you can use your mixer. Clean out the bowl of your mixer.

Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low for a couple minutes and then turn to medium for five minutes, which will cream the butter. Once the mixture has lighten in color and texture add the egg yolks, two at a time, mixing entirely before adding more eggs. Then mix in the cocoa powder, mixing completely.

With a rubber spatula fold in the melted chocolate. Then slowly fold in the egg whites, making sure each scoop is incorporated before adding more. Keep stirring until you no longer see white streaks. Pour the batter into the spring form pan. Scatter 1 cup of raspberries over the top of the cake. Push the berries down into the batter, until you can't see them.

Place the pan in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Take it out of the oven and let it cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes. The center will collapse, but don't worry, that's okay. If you want to use powdered sugar let the cake cool completely before sprinkling. Serve with the remaining raspberries.
This cake lingered in our kitchen, not because it's not amazingly good, but because it's the type of cake that you eat by the sliver. It's rich and fudge-y and as such is a cake to savor, not to devour. The fact that it seemed to get fudgier as the days went by and not hard and stale also added to it's lingering personality, which happens to be a well suited personality for a two-person home.

And how about that cat, almost floating on the porch railing?!

I hope you all have a nice weekend. Zach has surprised me with a road trip to Dijon. We had our hearts set on going to Paris this weekend to visit our friend Tala, but then the trains were sold out and the flights were expensive and at bad times. Ugh, but not to worry we are still going to Paris, just in a couple weeks and since we had had our hearts set on getting out of the city this weekend we are off for a little adventure.


  1. I'm not really big on chocolate (I know, it's crazy), but I do like (a) whipping up egg whites and (b) cake that's good for two. What happens to the raspberries as they bake? Do they get jammy? I think that would be enough to win me over.

  2. We're seriously passionate about our flourless chocolate cake. So much so that we baked almost twenty individual 8" rounds to serve as our wedding cake. In fact, we're working on one from the freezer right now, that was leftover from then. Thought about adding pomegranate arils to several of the cake initially, but deferred to the original. I might have to go for it, and definitely raspberries, now that yours is staring at me. Love the dense center portion.

    Cheers and hooray for "firsts",


  3. The recipe calls for 2 cups of raspberries, but you only mention putting 1 cup into the batter - what happens to the rest? Or did I miss something?

  4. Your Thanksgiving sounds lovely--and having the nontraditional chocolate cake kind of fits in with your Thanksgiving this year anyway. ;) I love flourless chocolate cakes, but I'm afraid I hate raspberries. I know, I'm crazy! But I might try it out with them anyway and see how others like it.

  5. I'm so glad I stumbled across your site. I love everything about your blog! I live vicariously through you! :) Thank you! Enjoying every post.

  6. Lina - thanks for catching that - you are just supposed to serve them alongside the finished cake.

    Someone who doesn't like chocolate and another who doesn't like raspberries, and I totally thought this cake was a winner all around ;) Let's see...

    Katie, I'd say the raspberries do get a bit jammy and almost thick and fudgy as well. They seemed to spread throughout the cake as opposed to staying whole, providing for nice raspberry under-flavor. I actually use to hate beating egg whites, until I got my mixer and realized how quick and easy it was. I do love to fold them into batter though, it's strangely satisfying.

    Heather! oh my goodness, it sounds like you are a connoisseur of flourless chocolate cake. I love the idea that you are eating one from your wedding, now, a few months later! don't like raspberries? so no peanut butter and raspberry jam, or linzer cookies?? If you like blackberries I bet those would work too. I was also thinking about additions such as Baileys or Amaretto. mmm. I'd say try it just plain without the raspberries, it will still be delicious.

    thanks for your comments everyone!! we just got back from Burgundy and it was so nice to have so many comments waiting for me!

  7. Macrina's means something to me! I've never been, but my good friend Steph moved to Seattle a few years ago and actually lives walking distance from Macrina's. She tried to bribe me to visit with this place. It's apparently amazing. As is your cake! Oh my goodness, I want some of that now. I need a good flourless chocolate cake recipe. I've been wanting to make the recipe in A Homemade Life — you've read that, right? — but this sounds (looks) even more fantastic. Yum yum yum!

  8. Talley, these photos are absolutely beautiful. The color story matches my emotions, as of late, not to mention this cake looks fantastic.

  9. Talley, this looks amazing! I just saved on pinterest in my "recipes to make now!" file. Beautiful pictures!

  10. My name didn't show up above for some reason...I fixed it now!

  11. this is a chocolate capolavoro!!!

  12. Hi Talley, I was just reading through some of your recipes as we are going to make some Pots de Creme that require half and half and I am wondering if I'll be able to find that here. Have you found it? What is it called? Anyway, I was reading through this recipe and now I see why the cake was especially appealing to me - we used to live in the same building as Macrina in Seattle and I ate far too many of their pastries and cakes on a regular basis!

  13. Hello!

    Thanks a lot for sharing. I tried the cake out, but it seems to be uncooked. I tried the toothpick test, and the toothpick did not come out clean, it was a bit liquidy. Wondering if it's best to put it back into the oven for some more time?

  14. Great picture, great cake, great house. What more can I say? This is definitely a must-do recipe!