February Daring Bakers Challenge: Flourless Chocolate Cake

February 28, 2009

IMG_4997 by you.


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.   I thought last month’s challenge was simple, but this month wins for the most minimalist of all recipes attempted for Daring Bakers Challenge thus far.  When there are only three ingredients, the quality of the three is paramount.  I used E. Guittard dark chocolate and as I was forwarned, the cake tasted exactly like the chocolate used. 

This month I had a slight cake disaster, and as I completed the challenge the day before the posting date, I had neither the time nor the inclination to make another cake.  Here’s what I learned:

  •  Use an 8″ (or larger) pan.  I thought that the recipe called for an 8″ heart pan, which seemed to me to translate to a 7″ pan.  I even scoured my local kitchenware store for the non-standard sized 7″ spring form cake pan.  It made the cooking time longer to have such a deep cake, not to mention the cake’s precariously rising above the edge of the pan.

IMG_4982 by you.

  • Do not unmold the pan after 10 minutes, as the recipe calls for.  My cake oozed out immediately after being freed from its form.  And like toothpaste, you can’t put it back in the tube.  It would have been fine it I had simply let it cool completely in the pan.


IMG_4986 by you.

Oh dear.


Chocolate Valentino
Preparation Time:  20 minutes
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

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.

IMG_4970 by you.
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. {link of folding demonstration}
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.


IMG_4977 by you.

My son, the chocoholic,  thought the cake smelled heavenly.


 Dharm’s Ice Cream Recipe
Classic Vanilla Ice Cream
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Recipe comes from the Ice Cream Book by Joanna Farrow and Sara Lewis (tested modifications and notes in parentheses by Dharm)


1 Vanilla Pod (or substitute with vanilla extract)
300ml / ½ pint / 1 ¼ cups Semi Skimmed Milk – in the U.S. this is 2% fat (or use fresh full fat milk that is pasteurised and homogenised {as opposed to canned or powdered}). Dharm used whole milk.
4 large egg yolks
75g / 3oz / 6 tbsp caster sugar {superfine sugar can be achieved in a food processor or use regular granulated sugar}
5ml / 1 tsp corn flour {cornstarch}
300ml / ½ pint / 1 ¼ cups Double Cream (48% butter fat) {in the U.S. heavy cream is 37% fat)
{you can easily increase your cream’s fat content by heating 1/4 cup of heavy cream with 3 Tbs of butter until melted – cool to room temperature and add to the heavy cream as soon as whisk marks appear in the cream, in a slow steady stream, with the mixer on low speed.  Raise speed and continue whipping the cream) or use heavy cream the difference will be in the creaminess of the ice cream.

1. Using a small knife slit the vanilla pod lengthways.  Pour the milk into a heavy based saucepan, add the vanilla pod and bring to the boil.  Remove from heat and leave for 15 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse
Lift the vanilla pod up.  Holding it over the pan, scrape the black seeds out of the pod with a small knife so that they fall back into the milk. SET the vanilla pod aside and bring the milk back to the boil.
2. Whisk the egg yolks, sugar and corn-flour in a bowl until the mixture is thick and foamy.  3. Gradually pour in the hot milk, whisking constantly.  Return the mixture to the pan and cook over a gentle hear, stirring all the time
4. When the custard thickens and is smooth, pour it back into the bowl.  Cool it then chill.
5. By Hand: Whip the cream until it has thickened but still falls from a spoon.  Fold it into the custard and pour into a plastic tub or similar freeze-proof container.  Freeze for 6 hours or until firm enough to scoop, beating it twice (during the freezing process – to get smoother ice cream or else the ice cream will be icy and coarse)
By Using and Ice Cream Maker: Stir the cream into the custard and churn the mixture until thick (follow instructions on your ice cream maker)

IMG_5001 by you.

We were required to make an ice cream to accompany the dense cake, and I opted for a classic vanilla bean recipe, using organic cream and milk.   The verdict?  Decadently rich, a sliver of this cake goes a long way, even for self-admitted chocoholics.  Thanks to this month’s hosts for a wonderful challenge!

25 Responses to “February Daring Bakers Challenge: Flourless Chocolate Cake”

  1. lisamichele Says:

    Simple and beautiful prsentation..great photos too! I love that you showed the collapsed cake 😀 I bet your son had a field day with those pieces!

  2. Aparna Says:

    Even with the disaster, I’d say everything seems to have turned out ok. After all, there was chocolate and then vanilla bean ice-cream.:)

  3. Tara Says:

    So your son liked the cake even without sugar?! Thats awesome! And your toothpaste comment was funny…

  4. Michelle Says:

    I had an ice cream disaster. Your cake still looks great! Great pictures!

  5. Marie Says:

    My cake was way to dry. Yours sounds like it tasted yummy.

  6. Your cake looks stunning, even with the collapse! The oozing chocolate looks so dramatic and decadent! What a beautiful creation.

  7. Namratha Says:

    I totally agree with the 10 min thing, the cake really needs to cool off completely before unmolding!! Your cake still looks amazing.

  8. Lillian Says:

    I love your photos, especially that last one with the chocolate stuck into the ice cream!

  9. Tina Says:

    I think having chocolate ooze out is better than it being dry. My was dry! haha

  10. Rebecca Says:

    Even though your cake was a disaster, the one slice you preserved for the photo looks scrumptious. And your photography? Lovely as always.

  11. I think your photo looks great even though you had a bit of trouble with the cake. I too had the batter rise up over the edges of an 8 inch cake pan. I decided to use my heart shaped cookie cutter to cut out pieces for individual servings which turned out very well.

  12. Amy Says:

    Sometimes the messiest things taste the best! It still looks good from this side though. Great job.

  13. JennyBakes Says:

    Ha, I love it when frustrating moments get captured on film, and suddenly the cake has a character too big for its pan! It looks like it tastes wonderful.

  14. nikki Says:

    Oh dear indeed! ^_^I’d still eat that collapsed cake

  15. teaandscones Says:

    The end result came out just fine. Mix those puppies together and it would be a great treat.

  16. Emilia Says:

    I saw this post and i just had to make the cake. A few tips for future valentino makers:
    If you’re not serving the cake right away, and plan on eating if over a few days (as i have) don’t refrigerate it- It’s simply not worth it. THe cake takes hours to get soft at room temperature anyway so you’re better off just leaving it out covered. Also, a piece is great after ten or fifteen seconds in the microwave! the consistency becomes softer, and lighter, and the subtle warmth is enough o make your heart flutter!

  17. Dharm Says:

    Glad you liked the challenge but sorry the cake ‘collapsed’. We did try to provide as much info as we could to make the cakes a success but I guess a lot depends on the type of chocolate and oven temperature as well. Thanks for joining us for the challenge!

  18. Subhie Says:

    simple and beautiful presentation…yummy….u have wonderful sites..wth wonderful recipes..thx for sharing

  19. Shreeya Says:

    Hmmm, that was interesting. Looks like somethings will always remain mystery.

    I myself has been trying to solve the mystery of the legend that forces you to have “earn it before

    having it”, for a wile now. Could not understand much though.

    Let me know in case you get to understand the mystery of the Old Hound and the Legend

    By the way, good writing style. I’d love to read more on similar topics

  20. Shelly Says:

    Love this site! Made a quite of few recipes like the chocolate cake and the mandoo with love. Looks like your last posting was in February. Will you be posting more recipes soon? Hope so…

  21. Crystal Says:

    Awww, the magnificence of chocolate. This looks wonderful!

  22. Alisa Says:

    It still looks wonderful to me!

  23. Rainy Daisy Says:

    I never do this on a first outing, but I think I’m in love with your blog. *blush!*

  24. Aunt Lollie Says:

    I just discovered your blog and am thrilled. You have a lot of wonderful looking recipes, but this cake tops them all! I can’t wait to try it.

  25. This looks delicious! Your photographs are beautiful!
    I’d love for you to check out my blog and let me know what you think! http://www.prettygoodfood.com
    Thanks and Happy Cooking!

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