Flourless Dark Chocolate & Espresso Birthday Cake

Hi guys!

Hope you’re all doing great. I’m currently in my hometown Amsterdam because I planned a surprise visit for my brother’s 18th birthday. Fortunately, the surprise went really well (he had no idea that I was coming!) and we had a very nice family day with lots of food! My mom and I spent basically the whole day in the kitchen last Thursday (on my brother’s birthday) to bake two cakes and prepare an awesome bday dinner. It’s a bit of a tradition in our family that you can choose what you want to have for dinner on your bday. My brother is a big fan of my famous Spinach & Ricotta Lasagna (of which I will probably post a recipe sooner or later) so that’s what he requested. But what is a birthday without an awesome birthday cake?

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I actually decided on baking two cakes because I had two recipes in mind that I really wanted to try out, but I needed a hand mixer for those recipes. Now, I don’t own one back in London, but my mom’s kitchen is fully supplied so I figured I should take advantage of the opportunity! Note that it is possible to bake this cake without a hand mixer too, but you will get a sore arm from beating the egg white 😉

My family is one full of ever-caffeinated-chocoholics, so this first cake, an Espresso & Dark Chocolate Cake, seemed just perfect. To keep it low-carb (the other cake we were doing was heavily carb-loaded so yeah…) we decided on a flourless version. This makes for an extra dense & creamy chocolate cake, but you do want this to sit in your fridge for a few hours before indulging.

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Let’s get to it!

Flourless Espresso & Dark Chocolate Cake

Prepping time: 15 mins – Baking time: 35-40 mins – Yield: 16 pcs

Ingredients

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup of unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 250 gr dark chocolate (I used around 70-80% cacao but you can use whatever you prefer. If you use more than that, consider adding a bit more sugar)
  • ¼ cup of boiling water
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 fresh single espresso (or 1 tsp instant espresso powder)
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cacao powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Powdered sugar & fruits for decorating

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 190 degrees Celsius and boil some water in your kettle. Break up your chocolate in small pieces and pour 1/4 cup (60ml) of boiling water over the chocolate. Add one cup of fresh espresso. You can also use instant espresso powder (1tsp) or both for extra coffee flavour. While you let that sit, separate the eggs in two large bowls. Using a hand mixer, beat the egg white until it’s very firm. Give your chocolate mixture a stir every now and then so that the chocolate completely melts and incorporates into the espresso and hot water.

Add your softened butter, sugar, salt, cacao powder and vanilla extract to the egg yolks and cream together with your hand mixer or spatula, whichever you prefer. Once the chocolate has fully melted, add the mixture to your egg yolks & butter. Now take a look at your egg white. If it has started to separate a bit, just quickly beat it again so that all the egg white is nice and fluffy. Scoop in the egg whites with a spatula, folding it in carefully to preserve as much air & fluffiness in your batter.

Poor the mixture into your cake form. You can use anything you like. I went for a larger diameter because I like this cake to be thin (you could use a brownie tin too), but if you want a thicker cake, use a cake form with a smaller diameter. Note that this will add ±5 mins to your baking time and your might want to let the cake set in the fridge a bit longer.

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My cake baked for 35 minutes. I let it cool on the counter for an hour. You could eat it straight away, although I like this cake better when it’s completely cooled and has set in the fridge for approximately 4 hours. This will make the cake extra dense and chewy. Whatever you prefer! Top the cake with some powdered sugar. You can also add any fruit you like. I chose raspberries and blackberries because I think they’re sweet yet sour taste goes well with the very dark chocolate. Strawberries would work really well too!

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Thanks for reading and be sure to keep an eye out for the recipe of the second birthday cake I made: a pear cheesecake with crumbly topping. I promise it will be an absolute hit this fall with your family & friends!

Best,

Tori

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Autumny Pumpkin Muffins with Spelt & Oats

Hi guys!

I’m back with another recipe. I cannot describe how much in love I am with these healthy-ish pumpkin muffins. They make me so excited about autumn.

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As I mentioned in my last post, I went to Borough Market last weekend. Borough Market, a fresh local food market just south of the Thames, has got to be my new favourite place on earth. The products on sale there are just so gorgeous. I bought the most beautiful graffiti aubergine and rainbow chard, just because I couldn’t resist the look of them. When I tasted them, I couldn’t believe how sweet and juicy the veggies were. Because autumn is definitely on its way, pumpkins are hard to miss these days too.

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I just knew I had to bake something with pumpkin upon seeing them. And who doesn’t love a gorgeous fall-inspired pumpkin muffin? I attended an event by my university’s baking society last week, and a girl had made de-li-cious pumpkin muffins. So I figured I’d give it a go myself! My recipe is an adaption of her recipe & two other recipes I found online. It was kind of a gamble, because I wanted to find a way to make these babies a bit more healthy than normally. I wanted to be able to eat these for breakfast, so I decided to work with wholemeal spelt flour and wholemeal oats instead of 100% plain flour. That would make them more filling & suitable for an actual meal instead of just a snack!

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Now, I think it’s fair to say they turned out pretty well. They were a bit more dense than purely flour-based muffins, but they were soooo moist and fluffy at the same time. I also found that the sweetness of these was just perfect. They just taste like autumn. Let’s get to talking about how to achieve that!

Pumpkin Muffins with Spelt Flour & Wholemeal Oats

Prepping time: 15 mins – Baking time: 24 mins – Total time: ±40 mins – Yield: 12 large muffins – Calories per serving: 180 kcal

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 banana, overripe for extra sweetness
  • 1/2 cup (80 grams) vegetable shortening or vegetable oil (I used Trex)
  • 1 tin (425 grams) pure pumpkin puree, no additives
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) almond milk
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) agave syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

 

  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 1 cup wholegrain spelt flour
  • 1/2 cup wholegrain oats
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon

Instructions

First, make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature as this will make it easier to blend everything together without getting any lumps. You want the smoothest batter you can get! You can use a mixer if you like, as this will definitely make this easier, but I don’t have a mixer so I just went for it using a whisk until my arms hurt like hell. Another note before you get started: if you are having trouble getting your hands on pure pumpkin puree, you can order it online or you can make some yourself. Just bake a sugar pumpkin (other kinds won’t get the same result), cut in two halves & deseeded, in a 220 degrees Celcius oven for 40 minutes. Peel off the skin and mash it up to get a puree and you’re all done!

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celcius.

In a large bowl, mash together the eggs and the banana to make a soft puree. Then, add all of the other wet ingredients and stir for ±2 minutes to combine everything. If you’re not using a mixer, it might be easier to add the ingredients bit by bit, so you can blend everything more easily. Once all your wet ingredients have combined nicely, combine all your dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Give it a quick stir to combine the different kinds of flour. You should have around 2 1/2 cup of flour in this bowl. Now, start adding the flour mixture to your wet ingredients, mixing well as you go along. Please note that I ended up only adding 2 cups of my flour mixture, as I wanted my muffins to be dense and moist. But feel free to add all of the flour mixture to your wet ingredients. It just depends on what you want! Next time, I might add 2 1/2 cups to try the difference.

Line a muffin tin with muffin cups, or just spray the tin with any oil you like. Scoop in the batter way up to the edge of the paper liner to create lovely huge muffins. If you want smaller muffins, this recipe should be enough for 16 small ones instead of 12 big ones.

Bake the muffins in your preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. At the 20 minute mark, just stick in a fork to check on them. If the fork comes out dry, the muffins are done. At 20 mins, there was still some batter stuck to my fork, so I put them back in for another couple of minutes, checking them at each 2 minute interval. My muffins were in the oven for exactly 24 minutes! Let your muffins cool in the muffin tin for 5-10 minutes, then move them to a rack to cool for another 5-10 minutes before indulging in them.

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I hope you liked this recipe and please let me know if you do try these out yourself!

Best, Cheftori