Death by chocolate. Think, a dense, fudgy base of flourless dark chocolate torte. Top that off with an ethereal layer of rich silky Guanaja chocolate mousse. Rich and lush as it melts in the mouth. The circle of fresh blueberries, with their burst of tanginess refreshes the palate between mouthfuls. Mhmm.. there is a reason why this cake is tiny, about 4.5 inches in diameter.
The contrast between the two components somehow works beautifully together. Oh, not forgetting the mix of bailey’s irish cream, whiskey and kahlua thoroughly infused into the cake. Next is the Guanaja mousse which, despite it delicate whipped texture, packs some pretty intense flavour. The smooth, velvety nature enhances the bittersweet flavours of this indulgent cake. Something which I felt was lacking was a crunch or crisp — maybe a praline feuilletine layer at the base the next time?
Flourless Chocolate Cake
adapted from Gourmet magazine via epicurious.com and scaled down to make a 4.5 inch cake
40g dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
30g French butter (i used demi-sel or slightly salted)
1/4 cup organic cane sugar
1 large egg
1/2 t pure vanilla
3 T cocoa powder
Preheat oven to 375F. Prep your cake pan by lining with baking paper. In a small, microwave-safe bowl, melt together chocolate and butter, stirring with a fork until very smooth. Pour warm chocolate mixture into a medium mixing bowl with sugar. Whisk to combine. Beat in eggs one at a time, waiting until each has been fully incorporated to add the next, then mix in vanilla extract. Sift cocoa powder into the bowl and whisk until well-combined. Pour into prepared cake pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Allow cake to cool in pan for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the cake and invert onto a plate.
*I like to use slightly salted butter in chocolate desserts because it really enhances the chocolaty-ness (if that makes sense!)
Guanaja Chocolate Mousse
I used Valrhona Guanaja which contains 70% cocoa and labelled as extra bitter. It is absolutely phenomenal here, in my opinion, with the intensity counterbalanced by the light, aerated texture of the mousse.
120g dark chocolate, valrhona Guanaja
3 T rum, whiskey or brandy
2 organic eggs
sugar, to taste
80ml heavy cream, whipped to medium-stiff peaks
pinch of salt
Melt the chocolate with the liquor of choice and stir to emulsify with the salt. Whisk the eggs and a tablespoon of sugar over a large bowl, set over a pan of simmering water (alternatively, use a baine marie). You want to warm the eggs and whisk it to incorporate volume. The eggs should double in volume with no more grittiness from the sugar remaining. Fold the beaten eggs into the chocolate mixture. Finally, fold in the whipped heavy cream with light strokes. Ensure everything is smooth and well combined, with no streaks.
Place the cake layer at the bottom of the cake ring. Pour the prepared chocolate mousse over and smooth the tops with an offset spatula. Let it set in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight. Enjoy!