By Brooke Davie
This gorgeous cake towers high above the tin as you remove it from the oven, but then, right before your eyes, all the life deflates out of it. Don’t be alarmed – that’s exactly how it’s supposed to behave! Being completely flourless, this cake is light and almost mousse-like at room temperature, but if you like things a little more intense, chill it in the fridge for a while and watch it become dense and fudgy. Serving this without some version of cream is not an option in my book!
250g dark chocolate, chopped roughly
125g butter, cubed
50ml orange juice (or super-strong espresso coffee)
4 large free-range eggs, separated
⅔ cup (120g) firmly packed blended unrefined raw sugar
2 tablespoon cocoa powder, sifted
Seeds from 12 cardamom pods, finely ground (or ½ teaspoon ground cardamom if you must!)
Whipped cream or whipped coconut cream, to serve
Fresh berries, to serve, optional
Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Grease and line the base and side of a 21cm springform cake tin. Place chocolate, butter and orange juice (or espresso) in a saucepan and heat gently, stirring, until melted and smooth.
Remove from the heat and cool slightly. Beat yolks and half the sugar with electric beaters or a balloon whisk for 3–4 minutes until thick and pale. Fold in cooled chocolate mixture, cocoa powder and ground cardamom.
Whisk egg whites in a clean bowl until stiff peaks form. Gradually beat in remaining ⅓ cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until you have a thick and glossy meringue mix.
Fold one-third of the meringue into the chocolate batter to loosen it (I was always taught that the first little bit of egg white is sacrificial, so don’t be too concerned about folding in gently). Add the remaining meringue mixture in one go and gently fold in with a spatula or large metal spoon in a cutting motion, turning the bowl around as you bring your spatula around the edge of the bowl and into the centre. Stop folding the second you no longer see any white lumps of meringue and carefully transfer the batter to the tin, trying hard not to knock out any more air.
Bake for 35 minutes – it will be looking glorious and towering high above the tin, but will still jiggle slightly in the centre.
Remove from the oven and leave for 10 minutes, watching the life deflate out of it as it cools. Loosen the side of the tin and leave to cool completely. Serve at room temperature dusted with extra cocoa, or chill in the fridge for a few hours for a more fudge-like consistency. Serve with whipped cream or coconut cream and fresh berries, if you like. Cake will keep, airtight, in the fridge for up to 5 days.
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