Have you ever gone to a dinner party and arrived with your own dessert in hand?
Maybe it’s bad manners, rude or downright selfish, but this is something I do on a regular basis. Although I always clear it with the hostess first because I’m not that presumptuous! And I did it again last Friday night when we went to dinner with a few other couples at a steakhouse.
Now before you start shaming me, let me say that David and I frequent this steakhouse in San Antonio a lot. And have for many years. We’re “regulars.” On special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries, they have come to expect me to bring my own dessert. (But I do share the cake with the wait and management staff, so there.)
So for the dinner party, I made two cakes. A decadent flourless chocolate cake and a light, flourless orange cake made with agave nectar.
Now, granted there is a little selfishness involved. Have you ever heard of a pastry chef that makes desserts without a lot of sugar and no flour? I didn’t think so. So, that’s the main reason I make and take my own desserts most everywhere I go. Plus, I’ve got an incredible sweet tooth and I am a born baker and love sharing good stuff with people I love.
For me, this bring-your-own-dessert concept is similar to bring your own wine. I would never, never, never make a dessert similar to something they serve at the restaurant, just as I would never, never, never bring a ho-hum bottle of $10 wine with me to a restaurant. Now, that would be bad manners.
So, cheers to my dinner party and to my selfishness. And cheers to the fact that everyone loved my low sugar, no flour desserts as much as I did.
(Full disclosure: I totally took a risk by making two desserts I had never made before. Yes, I have made many flourless chocolate cakes…they are my favorite. But, honestly, I had total faith in these recipes because they came from two of my favorite and highly talented gluten-free cooks and their blogs, Karina of Gluten-Free Goddess and Elana of Elana’s Pantry.)
Dark Goddess Cake
- 12 ounces dark chocolate
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter cut into pieces
- 1 tablespoon good quality vanilla extract
- 7 large happy farm fresh eggs
- 1 cup organic or light brown sugar packed
- 1/2 cup organic or regular white sugar
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 1/2 cup blanched almond flour
- Cocoa powder or powdered sugar
- Fresh raspberries
- Whipped cream if desired
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line the bottom of a 9-inch Springform pan with a circle of parchment paper; butter the paper.
In a microwave safe bowl or a double-boiler, place the chocolate and butter and allow it to melt slowly, stirring every 30 seconds or so. In a microwave, this should take about 2 minutes or four-30-second bursts. On the cooktop in a double-boiler, this will take up to 7 minutes, but do keep a close eye on it and stir occasionally. Once it is all melted, set it aside for a bit to cool slightly, stirring it often to keep it smooth.
Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs until they appear light colored and frothy; add the sugars (light brown and white sugar) and beat it again until the mixture is thick and flows in ribbons, about 5-6 minutes. Slowly, very slowly, pour about half of the melted chocolate into the egg mixture (to gently temper it). Beat on low to combine.
At this point, Karina suggests that we switch to our trusty wooden spoon and blend in the rest of the chocolate by hand. Add the vanilla. Sift the cocoa powder into the batter and gently mix again to combine. Now add the almond flour and mix to thoroughly combine.
Pour the batter into the prepared Springform pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes to an hour--remember oven temps vary.
The top of the cake may crack and that's fine. When a toothpick is inserted into the cake's center, it should emerge clean with a few moist crumbs when done. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack.
Once the cake has cooled completely, loosen the cake from the edges of the pan with a small flexible knife and then unlock the Springform pan. You may serve the cake right side up or invert it onto a 9-inch serving plate and peel off the parchment.
Now you have two choices--eat the cake when it's room temperature or chill it in the refrigerator for four to six hours or overnight. I prefer a rich and fudgy cake, so I always refrigerate it.
When ready to serve, dust the cake with the cocoa powder or powdered sugar and garnish with a few scattered raspberries or mint leaves and whipping cream, if desired.