Happy Valentine’s Day to my lovely readers! For those of you who are searching for the perfect Valentine’s treat, I have something for you:
It’s called Chocolate Cracked Earth. It’s an easy, flourless, wonderfully rich, easy cake. Oh and did I mention easy? If I ever had the opportunity to have you all over for lunch on a sunny winter afternoon, THIS is what I would serve you for dessert.
I had never attempted a flourless cake before and was intimidated by the thought of relying on the whisked egg whites to provide the leavening. It turned out great though. One tip: when you are beating the egg whites, you cannot have a speck of fat on the bowl, the beaters, or in the egg whites or they will not form stiff peaks. That includes egg yolks. Make sure you cleanly separate the egg yolks from the whites. In the oven the cake rose beautifully and while cooling it sank a bit causing lovely cracks to form in the top – that’s the whole idea of this cake so don’t get all sweaty in the pits if that happens.
Also, if you’re not a fan of bittersweet chocolate you can use whatever you prefer. I used a mix of bittersweet and semi-sweet.
Don’t be tempted to bake this cake too long – it IS supposed to be a gooey, brownie-like texture. The recipe calls for a bake time of 20-25 minutes. I left it in for 30 (my oven runs a little cool) and it was perfect. I baked the cake the night before, let it sit for 10 minutes, removed the sides of the pan and then let it cool to room temperature. I then loosely covered it for the evening and then topped it with a dusting of powdered sugar just before serving it at lunch. I skipped the recommended whipped cream and instead opted for a raspberry coulis.
Raspberry Coulis (pronounced cool-ie)
Here’s how I make mine -
I take one bag of frozen raspberries and microwave them for about 20 seconds (they only need to be partially thawed). Blend them up until smooth. Taste, and add granulated sugar as necessary. If the coulis is to be paired with a very sweet dessert, I leave it a little tart. Sometimes I add 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of lemon juice to brighten up the flavor. Press through a fine-mesh strainer. This step may take a few minutes, and if you use a rubber spatula you can get as much delicious liquid as possible. I do like to leave some seeds in – those little seeds are a charming part of what makes a raspberry delicious!
Your sauce is ready to use now. It’s great with chocolate anything, over ice cream (vanilla, lemon, coconut….), pound cake – or just by the spoonful. Raspberry coulis will keep in the fridge (in a lidded container) for about a week.