“I thought you were going to … ,” Nancy says, prefacing the way she would have done it.
We are making our favorite flour-less chocolate cake. We have tried several recipes since Nancy went gluten-free. Looking for decadences to compensate for what she was giving up seemed important. This one not only beat the others for taste and texture, but is the most fun—for that magic moment when a small amount of hot coffee is added to the finely divided chocolate and sugar mix in the blender, instantly converting sand-like powder to rich dark liquid. This is about the fifth time we have made this cake.
Later, after adding eggs (lots of eggs) and oil and a few minor ingredients, comes the time to pour into the springform pan. The recipe suggests wrapping the pan in aluminum foil to catch any liquid that might drip through the form before the oven heat has solidified it. Last time, after having committed to the foil, Nancy suggested we simply set the form onto a small round baking pan and save the foil. But I had forgotten, done it the old way.
Why do those words, “I thought you were going to …” trigger the flash of anger I feel? Note my use of “trigger” and “feel,” not “triggered” and “felt.” We have danced this dance many times.
We are different people, so it is no great surprise that we would take different approaches to any given problem. Sometimes, my way doesn’t work out. Other times, it works just fine. But “I thought you were going to …” really means “I would have … ,” and if my approach did not work very well, this response by Nancy adds to the embarrassment and frustration of my failure. I am realizing at this late time of my life that I am rather thin-skinned. Not a happy revelation.
I am reminded of a phase I went through in my teens. I would see something that needed doing and mentally place it on my agenda. Then one of my parents would ask me to do it, and I’d get angry. Doing the task was no longer my initiative.
And I thought I had grown beyond that!
Flourless Chocolate Cake
(recipe from Karina Allrich, Gluten-Free Goddess)
16 oz. solid dark chocolate
1 cup organic light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup organic white cane sugar
3/4 cup very hot strong coffee
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons unsweetened organic cocoa powder
8 large organic free-range eggs
1 tablespoon bourbon vanilla extract
Note from Brent: We substitute coconut oil for the butter and use Kroger’s Private Selection Brand dark chocolate chunks (62% cacao) for the chocolate.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Prepare a 10-cup Springform pan by lining the bottom with a circle of buttered parchment. Wrap the outside of the whole pan (underneath, to catch any leaks) with a big piece of foil.
Break up the dark chocolate into pieces and pour the chocolate into the bowl of the food processor. Pulse until the chocolate breaks up into small bits. Add the sugar. Pulse until the chocolate and sugar turns into an even, sandy grain.
Pour the hot water or coffee slowly into the feed tube as you pulse again. Pulse until the chocolate is melted. Magic!
Add the butter pieces and the cocoa powder, and pulse to combine. Add the eggs and vanilla, and process till smooth. The batter will be liquid and creamy.
*Note for cooks across the pond: One stick of butter here equals 8 tablespoons, or one half cup, 4 oz.
Pour the batter into the lined Springform pan.
Bake at 350º F in the center of the oven, till puffed and cracked and lovely – about 55 to 65 minutes. (Note – it took an hour plus 15 minutes when I baked this at high altitude.) Use a wooden toothpick to check the center of the cake; pick should emerge clean, with maybe a crumb.
Place the cake pan on a wire rack to cool. The cake will deflate. Don’t worry! When cooled a bit, press down on it gently with a spatula to make it even, if you wish. Or not.
When the cake is completely cooled, cover, and chill it for at least three hours (best up to eight hours), until serving. Overnight is even better.
Serve thin slices with drizzled chocolate sauce or a sprinkle of sifted powdered sugar. Garnish with a fresh berries or mint leaves.
Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 15 mins.
Cook time: 01 hrs. 00 mins.
Total time: 1 hrs. 15 mins.