Chocolate Chiffon Cake

P1000052 small

If you’re searching for a light, fluffy, gluten-free chocolate cake, look no further!  Since whipped egg whites provide the structure for the cake, the lack of gluten is not noticeable.  I can barely taste a difference from chocolate chiffon cake made with cake flour.  If you want to get a little fancy, you can crumble a couple almond crackle cookies and sprinkle the bits over the top of the cake.

Baking Notes:

  • Separate the eggs when cold, then allow the whites to come to room temperature before beating them.
  • The gluten-free cake dries out fast compared to regular cake, so frost it as soon as it cools to seal in moisture.  Then store it in an airtight container.

 

Chocolate Chiffon Cake
Inspired by Taste of Home

Yield: Two-layer 8″ cake

For the cake:

  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1/4 cup baking cocoa
  • 1/4 cup+2 tablespoons boiling water
  • 3/4 cup+2 tablespoons gluten-free OR cake flour
  • 3/4 cup+2 tablespoons sugar (divided into 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup+2 tablespoons)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

For the whipped cream frosting:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons powdered sugar

For the filling:

  • 1/3 cup marmalade

 

  1. After separating, let eggs stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together cocoa and water until smooth.  Cool for 20 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 325°F and set aside an 8″ round baking pan with 3″ sides.  If using gluten-free flour, line it with aluminum foil to make cake removal easier.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking soda, and salt.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together egg yolks, oil, and vanilla.
  6. Add egg yolk mixture and cocoa mixture to dry ingredients.  Beat or stir vigorously until well blended.
  7. In another large bowl, using clean beaters, beat egg whites and cream of tartar on high speed until they form soft peaks.
  8. Gradually add 1/4 cup+2 tablespoons sugar and continue beating until stiff, glossy peaks form.
  9. Add a large scoop of the whipped egg whites to the yolk mixture and mix gently but thoroughly to lighten the batter.
  10. Add the remaining egg whites in 3 additions.  Gently fold into the batter using a large wire whisk, making sure to scrape down the bottom of the bowl frequently.
  11. Gently scrape batter into pan and gently smooth top with a rubber spatula.
  12. Bake at 325°F for 25 minutes without opening the oven door during this time. Increase heat to 350°F and bake an additional 15 minutes.  The cakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, or when the surface springs back immediately after pressing on it with a finger.
  13. As soon as you remove cakes from oven, lay 2 thick wooden spoon handles (or chopsticks) across the top of each pan and place a shallow bowl upside down on top of the handles/chopsticks.  Invert each arrangement and cool cakes completely upside down.  This step is important, because otherwise the cakes will sink.  It looks like this:
    IMG_5434
  14. Unmold cake carefully, because it is fragile, and slice in half horizontally.
  15. Using a mixer on medium speed, beat together heavy cream and powdered sugar until whipped cream holds stiff peaks.
  16. Scoop about 1 1/2 cups frosting into a small bowl, and fold in 1/3 cup marmalade to make the filling.
  17. Place one cake layer cut side down on a serving plate and spread with the filling.  Top with the second layer cut side up.
  18. Frost first the sides and then the top of the cake with remaining whipped cream.
  19. Refrigerate the cake in an airtight container if you’re not serving it immediately.

 

Flourless Chocolate Cake

IMG_5164

My friends and I loved this flourless chocolate cake.  It’s very rich and intensely chocolate-y.

Original recipe

 

Flourless Chocolate Cake
From Epicurious

Yield: 8″ cake

  • 4 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (plus additional for sprinkling if desired)

 

  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 375°F.  Butter an 8-inch round baking pan.  Line bottom with a round of wax paper and butter paper.  Make sure the paper sticks completely to the buttered pan and lies flat, or it will make an indentation in the cake.
  2. Chop chocolate into small pieces. In a double boiler or metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, melt chocolate with butter, stirring, until smooth. (Alternatively, melt chocolate with butter in a small non-stick pot over very low heat, stirring constantly.  Be careful not to burn the chocolate.)
  3. Remove top of double boiler or bowl from heat and whisk sugar into chocolate mixture.
  4. Add eggs and whisk well.
  5. Sift 1/2 cup cocoa powder over chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined.
  6. Pour batter into pan and bake for 25 minutes, or until top has formed a thin crust.  Don’t worry if the cake is domed when it comes out of the oven, because it will flatten as it cools.
  7. Cool cake in pan on a rack for 5 minutes and invert onto a serving plate.
  8. Dust cake with additional cocoa powder, if desired.
  9. The cake can be cooled completely and stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

 

Fudge

IMG_5181

Dubbed “absurdly easy chocolate fudge” by the New York Times, this recipe lives up to its name.  You toss practically all of the ingredients into one bowl or pot and melt them together.  Then you pour the mixture into a pan and refrigerate it.  Voila, fudge!

Original recipe

 

Fudge
From New York Times

Yield: 16 two-inch squares

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1 pound semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • teaspoon salt (optional)
  • ½ cup chopped nuts (optional)

 

  1. Grease an 8″ x 8″ baking pan. Line with parchment or wax paper, letting edges of paper hang over sides of pan.
  2. In top of a double boiler or a metal bowl set over (not resting in) simmering water, combine butter, chocolate, sweetened condensed milk, and salt, if using.  Mix just until melted and well combined.  Alternatively, use a microwave on low power to melt ingredients, stopping every 10 to 20 seconds to mix well.  (I actually heated everything in a small non-stick pot over very low heat on the stove.  You have to be careful to stir constantly and make sure the chocolate doesn’t burn if you do this.)  The mixture should be heated as little as possible.
  3. Stir in nuts, if using.
  4. Scrape mixture into prepared pan.  Refrigerate until set, about 4 hours or overnight.
  5. Lift fudge on paper out of pan and use a large knife to cut into squares.

Chocolate Truffles

IMG_5171

You can never have too much chocolate, so here is a simple, tasty recipe for making your own truffles.  I tried out three coating ingredients, cocoa powder (top two rows in photo), cinnamon sugar (third row), and powdered sugar (bottom row), and decided that the cocoa powder works best.  It coats the chocolate ganache the most evenly and easily, unlike powdered sugar, which tends to clump.  The cinnamon sugar adds an interesting kick to the truffles, but if the ganache is too soft, it will keep getting absorbed into the chocolate as you shape the truffles.

Original recipe

 

Chocolate Truffles
From The New York Times

Yield: 24 truffles

  • 7/8 cup heavy cream
  • 8 oz good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped finely (otherwise it won’t dissolve completely in the heavy cream)
  • Coating ingredient(s): unsweetened cocoa powder, cinnamon sugar, and/or powdered sugar for coating truffles (about 1 heaping spoonful of each)

 

  1. Heat cream in a pot until it steams.
  2. Put chocolate in a bowl, pour hot cream on top, and stir until chocolate is melted and incorporated into cream.  (This is the ganache.)
  3. Cover bowl of ganache and chill in refrigerator until solid all the way through, 1 to 2 hours.
  4. Prepare desired coating ingredient(s), placing each in its own small bowl.
  5. Using a chilled melon baller or latex gloves to prevent the ganache from melting or sticking to your hands, scoop out about a tablespoonful and drop it into a bowl of coating ingredient.  (I didn’t have either, so I just resigned myself to sticky hands.)
  6. Sprinkle coating ingredient over ganache and quickly roll it into a ball with your fingertips.
  7. Repeat, lining truffles on a plate or a baking sheet.  If truffles become too soft to handle, place them in refrigerator or freezer for a few minutes.
  8. Serve immediately or store, wrapped in plastic, in refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

img_4780

These cookies combine three different forms of chocolate and have a deliciously soft texture.  The gluten-free version have great structural integrity and don’t spread out very much when baking.

 

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Wolfgang Puck

Yield: 30 cookies gluten free, 24 with regular flour

  • 1 3/4 cups gluten-free OR all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 oz (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces
  • 3/4-1 cup light brown sugar (depending on how sweet you want the cookies)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2-2 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • 1 3/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

 

  1. With an electric mixer on medium speed, soften butter.
  2. Add brown sugar and beat together on high speed until fluffy.  Stop machine to scrape down the sides as necessary.
  3. Decrease speed to medium and beat in eggs and vanilla.
  4. Stop machine, scrape in melted chocolate, and beat on medium speed until thoroughly combined.
  5. Beat in cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
  6. On low speed, gradually beat in flour.  (If using all-purpose flour, beat just until combined.  Luckily, over-beating is not a worry for gluten-free flour.)
  7. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts, if using.
  8. Position racks to divide oven into thirds and preheat to 350ºF.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  9. Shape dough into 2-tablespoon balls and space them 2 inches apart on baking sheets.
  10. Bake about 15 minutes, or until slightly firm to the touch, reversing the trays front to back and top to bottom halfway through.
  11. If making gluten-free cookies, leave them on the sheets for a few minutes after they come out of the oven so they harden a little more.
  12. Cool cookies on wire rack.

 

Black and White Cheesecake

img_4783

This recipe comes from Mary Engelbreit and was originally a chocolate-amaretto cheesecake.  To avoid anything almond related, for my friends with nut allergies, I turned it into a chocolate-vanilla cheesecake.  For a gluten-free crust, you’ll need to make your own chocolate wafer cookies, but luckily this is not difficult!  I’d recommend baking them in advance, though.

 

Black and White Cheesecake
Adapted from Mary Engelbreit

Yield: 9-inch cake

  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 4 1/2 oz chocolate wafers, crushed
  • 1 lb cream cheese, at room temperature
  • a little under 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 oz semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 2 tablespoons amaretto or other almond-flavored liqueur (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract (optional)

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Wrap the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan in aluminum foil so that the foil comes halfway up the side.
  2. In a small bowl, combine butter and chocolate wafer crumbs.  Gently press mixture into the bottom of the pan.
  3. Bake crust for 10-15 minutes if gluten free, 10 minutes if not.
  4. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool.  Leave the oven on.
  5. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, on medium-high speed, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy.
  6. Scrape down side of bowl, add sugar, and beat until well blended.
  7. Scrape down side of bowl again and add eggs one at a time, beating until blended.
  8. Beat in vanilla and salt.
  9. Transfer half of the mixture to a medium bowl.
  10. If using amaretto and almond extract, add them to one bowl now.  Beat until combined.
  11. Beat semisweet chocolate into the other bowl, then pour into pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
  12. Slowly pour the white layer on top of the chocolate layer, smoothing the top with a clean spatula.
  13. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until almost set.  The center will still be jiggly when you shake the pan.
  14. Turn off the oven and prop the door open with a wooden spoon.  Let the cheesecake sit there for 1 hour.
  15. Remove cheesecake from oven and run knife around the pan edge to loosen it.
  16. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (although if you’re impatient, you can also eat it the same day).
  17. Cut cake with a large knife dipped in hot water and wiped clean between each slice.

Chocolate Wafer Cookies

img_4777

Chocolate wafer cookies are great to have around, not only for snacking on but also for, say, crushing and turning into cheesecake crusts.

Original recipe

 

Chocolate Wafer Cookies
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Yield: 50-60 1 3/4-inch wafers

  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free OR all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

 

  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugar.
  2. Beat in cocoa, salt, and baking soda.
  3. Beat in flour.
  4. Beat in milk and vanilla.
  5. Transfer the dough to a large bowl or a cutting board and knead a few times to make sure it is evenly blended.
  6. Form dough into a log about 14 inches long and 1 3/4 inches in diameter. Wrap log in wax paper or foil and refrigerate until firm, at least one hour, or until needed.
  7. Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  8. Cut log of dough into slices a scant 1/4-inch thick and place them 1-2 inches apart on baking sheets (even cookies made with all-purpose flour will spread).
  9. Bake for 12-15 minutes, rotating the baking sheets from top to bottom and back to front about halfway through.  The cookies will puff up and deflate; they are done about 1 1/2 minutes after they deflate.
  10. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets on racks, or slide the parchment onto racks to cool completely.  They should crisp as they cool.  If they don’t, return them to the oven to reheat and bake a little longer, then cool again.
  11. These cookies may be stored in an airtight container for up to two weeks or be frozen for up to two months.