Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Gateau au chocolat: Le Diabolo-Simone Beck's Classic Adapted Nut Free

Because this cake is just too good to give up over a couple tablespoons of pulverised almonds. I changed the topping as well, glazing it with apricot jam rather than more chocolate. Raspberry would be really lovely as well.

This silly little cake is so adaptable I've even made it at Passover replacing the flour with matzo meal. I won't go out on a limb and suggest you can't screw this cake up-but it would take some effort.

Beck really liked her sweet chocolate, which she calls for in most chocolate desserts. I used semi-sweet this time, though I have baked this with bittersweet as well. I can't remember the last time I purchased a package of German's Sweet chocolate-maybe I'll buy some just for the retro feel of it.

This is such a simple cake to bake, it would be an ideal first baking project for a child. Really, all you do is whisk eggs. If you're uncomfortable having a child melt chocolate at the stove-microwave it. The results won't suffer any. The cake usually cracks at the top, as it puffs, but upon cooling, it will deflate and you will scarcely notice once it is glazed. You could also dust it with cocoa if glazing seems like too much work. I'm not kidding, this cake can be in the oven in under fifteen minutes, and although it tastes better chilled, I don't know many people that would refuse a still warm, or room temperature slice.

Finally, the nuts. The original recipe called for 2 tablespoons pulverised almonds which I replaced with porridge oats that I whirred in an electric coffee grinder. Coconut makes an excellent substitute as well, but does tend to change the flavour a bit. In some cases, when substituting oats it is good to add a drop of cooking oil, but i did not do so here, and do not think it would have made any noticeable difference.

You Will Need:

3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs, separated
6 ounces chocolate (sweet, semi-sweet, or bittersweet all work fine)
3/4 cup unsalted butter
4 tablespoons cake flour
2 tablespoons pulverised porridge oats
Pinch of salt

Grease and flour a 9 inch round baking pan. Lay a round of parchment in bottom, and grease and flour that as well. You can of course skip this if you don't have parchment, but i find it helpful.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Beat the egg yolks and sugar together until light and thick. In a pan, melt the chocolate and butter together over very low heat (use a double boiler if you aren't really skilled at this sort of thing-or the microwave on half power). Stir the eggs into the melted chocolate mixture and cook over low heat until incorporated. remove from heat. Stir in the flour and pulverised oats. Set aside.

Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they hold stiff peaks but are not dry. Remove 1/4 of the whites and stir into chocolate mixture to lighten it. Pour this mixture into remaining egg whites and carefully fold until incorporated. Pour into pan. Tap gently to remove any air pockets. Bake 25-35 minutes or until set and centre is creamy when tested-but not runny. Take care not to overbake it. Cool in pan on rack.

Unmould cake, and glaze with either warmed apricot jam, dust with cocoa powder or use the glaze Beck suggests:

3 1/2 ounces German's Sweet chocolate broken in small pieces
2-3 tablespoons coffee or water
3 tablespoons butter

Melt the chocolate with the coffee until smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in butter. Pour and spread on top of cake. Chill before serving.

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