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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Culinary School - Session 38: Flourless Chocolate Cake

Culinary School: Session 38 (11.12.14)

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Cake lies!

I'm starting with a confession. The Flourless Chocolate Cake is not really flourless

Ahh... good to get that one off my chest.

The truth is, the cake uses Almond Flour rather than Wheat Flour, so it has all of those gluten-free properties that everyone is in love with right now (don't worry, gluten, I still love you!)

As a result, the end product is not exactly the gooey, brownie/fudge hybrid you may expect. In fact, when the cake is fully decorated, I would wager it completely defies expectation. Spiked with chocolate meringue logs, this cake takes on a downright otherworldly appearance.

Practice, practice, practice....

In advance of our next written & practical exams, Chef graciously dedicated a significant portion of class to making Genoise, whipping Swiss Meringue Buttercream and perfecting our frosting techniques. I would say there's a 95% probability that these three items will be the basis for the practical exam.

Very rarely (have we ever?) do we repeat something from the syllabus. Reading between the lines, I'd say Chef was less-than-impressed with our first round of cakes. Here's hoping that practice makes perfect... or at least makes decent cakes.

Five Pounds of Swiss Meringue Based Buttercream

And for dessert....

Clearing out the very backs of the refrigerators, we also unmolded and finished decorating our White & Dark Chocolate Mousse Cakes from last week. The Pate a Cornet stencil technique used on the Almond Sponge Cake (Jaconde) was rather impressive.

And the Mousse? While I would never want White Chocolate Mousse (White Chocolate... talk about misnomers!) on it's own, it's dangerously delicious when balanced with the Dark Chocolate Mousse.

White & Dark Chocolate Mousse Cake with Pate a Cornet Decoration

White & Dark Chocolate Mousse Cake with Pate a Cornet Decoration

- Ingredients Running Tally -

You can thank over five pounds of Buttercream made with an Italian Meringue base for launching our egg and butter count into the stratosphere this class.  Two dozen eggs and the equivalent of 12 sticks of butter per person. No big deal.

Ingredients used to date (11.12.14):
  • Flour: 15,515g
  • Eggs: 9,400g (188x)
  • Sugar: 9,745g
  • Butter: 10,965g
  • Milk/Cream: 9,335g

Bowl of Butter for Buttercream

- The Recipes -


Flourless Chocolate Cake

Flourless Chocolate Cake is a slight misnomer, as this recipe doesn't eliminate flour, but rather swaps in Almond Flour in place of Wheat Flour. Nevertheless, this cake has the decadent richness you would expect from something deemed "flourless"

With melted chocolate folded with a French Meringue, the cake is mechanically leavened by trapped air in the batter. However, these cakes completely collapse (by design) once removed from the oven. They cool into dense, chocolatey discs that are coated in Creme d'Or, a mixture of melted chocolate and whipped cream, and topped with Chocolate Meringue Logs. 

Focus Techniques:
- Mixing the melted chocolate with the Almond Flour, which helps to bring down the temperature of the chocolate before it is added to the other ingredients.
- Adding egg yolks to the batter while it is still somewhat warm for easier incorporation. If the eggs are added to the chocolate when it is too hot, the eggs can curdle. But if the chocolate is too cold, the mixture will be too thick and the eggs will not mix in smoothly.
- Allowing the baked cakes to completely cool in the pans before unmolding. The cakes will inevitably deflate when they are removed from the oven. While warm, they remain very fragile and will fall apart if you attempt to unmold them too quickly.
- Making a Creme d'Or of desired thickness. The temperature of the melted chocolate at the time it is folded with the whipped cream will determine how thick the Creme d'Or becomes.

Overhead of Flourless Chocolate Cake

Collapse of Flourless Chocolate Cake

Creme d'Or Coated Flourless Chocolate Cake

Piped Chocolate Meringue Logs

Split Chocolate Meringue Logs

Overhead of Decorated Flourless Chocolate Cake

Take a look at the full syllabus

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