Whether it’s Grandma’s traditional chocolate sponge, a Woolies Mud Cake or a vegan cacao mousse, people have strong feelings about what makes the perfect chocolate cake. But in my humble opinion, this gluten free chocolate cake, erm, takes the cake.
Its fudgey centre and frothy, meringue-y finish make it feel both indulgent and abstemious, rich but light, and it combines coffee, chocolate and almond in a way that is, quite frankly, indecent.
When I brought it into Wild Women HQ this week to share with the team, someone told me it was ‘even better than Mrs Jones’, which – if you’ve ever had Mrs. Jones flourless chocolate cake, you’ll know – is a gobsmacking win.
The recipe is based on one from a dog-eared Stephanie Alexander cookbook, The Cook’s Companion, whose 1996 publication date makes me feel quite ancient, but the recipes are timeless.
I followed Di Westaway’s recipe, which has been tweaked to make it a little more ‘Wild Women’ (less brandy, more coffee), but it retains the soul and flavour of the original.
This crowd-pleasing gluten free chocolate cake is perfect for hiking birthday celebrations, but be warned… it’s a delicate one to transport. We recommend baking it in a spring-form tin and keeping it inside the tin for travelling – it’s the best way to prevent cracks.
Enjoy it with a black coffee at breakfast time for a truly delightful start to the day, or after dinner with french vanilla ice cream and berries.
- 125g 75% dark chocolate, chopped
- 2 tbsp black coffee
- 100g salted butter, softened
- ½ cup castor sugar
- ¾ cup ground almonds
- 3 eggs, separated
- icing sugar
- Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
- Separate your eggs. If you’re anything like me, you ignored the ingredients list and want to do this part later when the eggs are required, but the cake will be better if you do it now.
- Make your coffee. I used two scoops of freshly ground coffee in the French press, with just enough water to… wet it. Let it brew.
- Butter a springform tin and line it with baking paper. When I made this recently, I made a regular sized cake, as well as some muffin-sized cakes, which are perfect for hiking. You do you – but adjust the baking time if you use smaller tins.
- In a double boiler, melt the chocolate then add the coffee. I stuffed this up a bit last time because my double boiler was a little too hot – make sure you use a ceramic or glass bowl on top to ensure the chocolate melts smoothy.
- Add the butter and sugar. If the chocolate starts to get weird here (i.e. won’t combine with butter, looks lumpy), don’t panic. Keep mixing, it’ll give you a workout!
- Add the ground almonds and stir through very well. Your arm should be properly tired by now, you’re welcome.
- Lightly beat the egg yolks and add them to the chocolate mixture.
- Beat egg whites until firm. You don’t want stiff peaks, but it should be very white and fluffy.
- Add a couple of spoons of egg to chocolate mixture to lighten it, the fold the rest of the whites in and fold in. It takes a while, be patient.
- Spoon into your prepared tin and bake for 25-40 mins (depending on size of tin). To check if it’s done, it should be a little gooey in the centre, with a crust.
- Allow it to cool completely before gently removing from tin and dusting with icing sugar. Use a Wild Women stencil if it floats your boat!
- Serve with vanilla ice cream and berries.
This beautiful cake keeps well in the freezer, sliced into bite sized servings!