Monday, December 17, 2012

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Flourless Cake

This flourless dark chocolate cake has a rich peppermint-chocolate icing that is absolutely irresistible.  I added crushed candy canes and sprinkled them on top for the holidays, but the decoration is optional of course.  You could also dust the top with powdered sugar and arrange an assortment of berries on top and serve with fresh whipped cream.  Rich, moist, and surprisingly light, this cake is sure to make any chocolate lover's dreams come true.  This cake is perfect for the holidays because it is so decadent, but is also gluten free, grain free, and guilt free.  Hey, it is the holidays after all!  Live a little!

So good Anthony snuck a piece before I could even get a picture!

A little slice of chocolate heaven
1 1/2c almond flour
1c semisweet chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli 60% cocoa)
3/4c fine granulated bakers sugar
6oz butter (1 1/2 sticks), room temp or softened
6 large eggs, whites separated
1/8tsp salt
1tsp lemon juice
1/2c heavy cream
1tsp pure peppermint extract
1c semisweet or dark chocolate chips
3 or 4 candy canes, crushed (optional)
Berries & Whipped Cream for serving (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375F.  Adjust a rack to the upper third.  Line the bottom of a 9" spring form pan with nonstick foil.  
2. Place 1c chocolate chips in the top of a small double boiler over simmering water (I used a glass bowl over a small saute pan filled with 2" of water).  Stir until almost melted.  Remove from heat and continue to stir until completely melted and smooth.  Set aside until just barely warm.
3. In a large bowl, warm butter slightly in the microwave if it's cold.  Add 1/2c sugar and beat using and eclectic mixer until the butter and sugar is soft and smooth.  Add egg yolks and beat until smooth (scrape the sides of the bowl to ensure it's all mixed in well). 
4. On low speed, add the melted chocolate until mixed.  Then add the almonds and beat until fully mixed.
5. Place the whites in a large separate bowl.  Add the salt and lemon juice.  Beat with the electric mixer (with clean beaters), starting on low and increasing gradually.  When the whites barely hold a soft shape, add in the last 1/4c sugar.  Then, on high, continue to beat until stiff peaks form (lift the beaters and if a straight point stays where the beaters are raised, they are done).  Try not to overbeat.
6. Stir 1 large spoonful of the egg whites into the mix.  Then in 3 parts, fold in the remaining egg whites.  Do not thoroughly mix until the last addition to keep from handling more than necessary (you don't want the egg whites to fall or the cake will be too dense).
7. Pour into prepared pan.  Level the batter and bake in the top third of the oven for 20 minutes.  Then reduce temperature to 350F and bake an additional 30-45 minutes.  The cake should come out clean when a toothpick is inserted.  The top of it may be cracked or sunk in a bit, this is all fine.
8. Remove and loosen pan.  Take out of pan completely and let cool on a plate.  Line the bottom of the cake with strips of parchment or foil so it's easy to frost.
9. To make the frosting, heat cram in a medium sized saucepan over medium high heat.  When it starts to bubble, stir in 1c chocoalte chips and 1tsp peppermint until smooth.  Turn off heat and stir occasionally until slightly thick.
10.  When the icing is barely warm (about 10 minutes later), pour over the cake and spread with a spatula.  Spread a bit over the sides.  Remove the foil.  Sprinke the top and sides with crushed candy canes if desired.  Store in the fridge.  Enjoy with berries and whipped cream or all by itself.


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