I am not a gluten-free baker. Then what the heck am I doing posting this gluten-free recipe, right? The answer is quite simple actually, this a decadent, rich and elegant dessert that happens to also be gluten-free. I am often asked about making gluten free cakes, cookies, etc., and my response is that while I don’t recreate bakes that traditionally have gluten, what I do love to do is create recipes for bakes that naturally do not contain gluten, like this luscious chocolate cake, French macarons, caramels, pate de fruits, etc. Fair warning, this is a dense and rich dessert that’s perfect for sharing. So bake it with love and send out the evites!
This base of this cake was adapted from an America’s Test Kitchen recipe and it is absolutely divine served with vanilla bean whipped cream and my caramel sauce. Makes 16 servings.
8 large eggs, room temperature
1 pound ( 454 grams) semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 pound (2 sticks/226 grams) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
How to use them:
Preheat oven to 325°. Prepare a spring-form pan (a type of pan where the bottom separates from the sides). Spray the pan with oil and line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Line the entire outside of the pan with two layers of heavy duty aluminum foil. This cake will be baked in a bain-marie and you have to make certain water does not seep into the pan. Set in a roasting pan and set aside. Bring a kettle of water to boil to for the bain marie.
Place the chocolate, butter, espresso powder and sea salt in a large heat safe bowl over a bain-marie, a pot of shallow, gently simmering water. Do not allow any of the simmering water to touch the bottom of the bowl. Stir frequently with a spatula until the mixture is completely smooth and all of the ingredients are incorporated.A quicker option is to heat the ingredients in the microwave on 50% power in 30 second increments until completely melted, however the water bath method is a more gently way of heating the chocolate and ensure you don’t scorch or overheat it which can happen with the microwave.
Add the eggs to the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment.Speaking of eggs! I am ALWAYS learning pastry techniques and just the other day I actually learned a trick to cracking eggs that I had never heard of!!! I know, I know, it’s not normal to be this excited about cracking eggs, but I genuinely get giddy when I come across pastry wisdom that’s new to me. So, I learned that you should not crack eggs against the edge of something like a bowl, but rather on a flat surface. Do you want to know why? (I know you do, because you are reading this, LOVE pastry and geek out on it as much as I do!) When you crack an egg against an edge it tends to shatter the shell and push the shell bits inward, thereby introducing bacteria to eggs contents. A better and more sanitary technique is to crack the egg against a flat surface, which results in a cleaner line crack, rather than shattered bits. The picture below compares the two methods and you can clearly see the difference. So cool, right?!?!? This kind of stuff makes me embarrassingly happy.
Now, back to the bake! Begin whisking the eggs on low speed for a minute and then increase to medium high speed and whisk for 6-8 minutes until the eggs have at least doubled in volume. You can see how much air was incorporated and how much volume was built below.Once the eggs have reached the desired volume, you can begin to incorporate them into the chocolate mixture. Gently, and close to the bowl, add in 1/3 of the eggs and fold them in until they are no longer clearly visible.Be gentle during the process as you don’t want to deflate all of the air bubble you have built into the eggs. Add half of the remaining eggs and fold in the same way. Add the last of the eggs and fold in until you have a fully incorporated batter free of any visible egg streaks.Gently add the batter to your spring-form pan and smooth the surface with a small offset spatula. Place the roasting pan with the spring-form pan in the oven and center it in the middle of the rack FIRST, and then gently add the boiling water until it comes up about a third or half way up the spring-form pan.This is the best way to add the boiling water. You DO NOT want to add the boiling water and then attempt to move it to the oven.
Bake for 18-24 minutes, until the edges appeared to have set with a bit of jiggle still visible in the center, or for the most accurate and fool proof way to check for doneness, test it with a food thermometer. When the cake reaches a temperature of 140 degrees in the center, without touching the bottom of the pan with your thermometer, it is done. Using an instant read food thermometer is the best way to know exactly when this cake is complete. This is one of those kitchen tools that is inexpensive, yet priceless when it comes to baking. If you know what temperature your bake should be at when done, then you ensure a perfect bake every time, without having to send up a prayer to the baking gods that your bake isn’t horribly under or over baked!
Set your spring-form pan on a cooling rack, remove the aluminum foil from around the pan, and allow to cool completely. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight if possible. This cake can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
To serve, gently turn cake over on to a cake board or cookie sheet covered with wax or parchment paper. Remove the parchment paper and flip it back right side up on to a cake stand.When slicing the torte, slice into 16 pieces, making certain to dip your knife into very hot water and wipe with a paper towel in between each slice. This will ensure, beautiful, clean and stress free slicing.