Yup, I’m still attempting this low-carb diet, and last week I attempted two flourless cakes. The chocolate one was by far better, excellent, in fact! I think I may actually make it again. The lemon-almond cake was interesting, but I don’t know if I’d make it again. Apparently, this cake is a Majorcan (an island off of Spain) specialty – super light and fluffy. I think my mistake was not serving/eating it with some type of sauce, cream or ice cream. I also used stevia rather than sugar in the following recipes, which turned out great, too.
Flourless Chocolate Cake
- 8 ounces fine-quality dark chocolate
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup stevia (or 1.5 cups sugar)
- 6 large eggs
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder plus additional for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 375°F and butter an 10-inch round baking pan. Line bottom with a round of wax paper and butter paper.
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. Remove top of double boiler or bowl from heat and whisk sugar into chocolate mixture. Add eggs and whisk well. Sift 1 cup cocoa powder over chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined. Pour batter into pan and bake in middle of oven 25 minutes, or until top has formed a thin crust. Cool cake in pan on a rack 5 minutes and invert onto a serving plate.
Dust cake with additional cocoa powder and serve with sorbet if desired. (Cake keeps, after being cooled completely, in an airtight container, 1 week.)
- 1 1/3 cups blanched slivered almonds (don’t put more or else your almond batter will be too thick!)
- 2 1/3 tablespoons stevia (or 8 tbsp sugar)
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 5 teaspoons packed grated lemon peel
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter and flour 9-inch-diameter cake pan with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Line bottom of pan with waxed paper. Finely grind almonds with 2 tablespoons sugar in processor. Combine yolks, 2 tablespoons sugar, lemon peel, cinnamon and salt in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat until thick and smooth, about 2 minutes. Stir in almond mixture. Using clean beaters, beat egg whites in large bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add 4 tablespoons sugar, beating until stiff but not dry. Fold large spoonful of whites into almond mixture. Gently fold in remaining whites.
Transfer batter to pan. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool in pan on rack. Turn out onto platter. Remove waxed paper.
My companion in this extreme and crazy low-carb diet is Carrie. It’s her birthday this week, so I researched some more sweets that actually sounded good and that were low in carbs (no flour and no sugar). The first one I found was a chocolate rum pie, and rather than use sugar, I bought some stevia, with which I will be experimenting this week. Unlike other sugar substitutes that are chemically altered forms of sugar, stevia is actually a sweet plant, which they’ve concocted into powder or liquid form to add to desserts, or coffee/tea (mine is in powder form from TJ’s). Stevia does have a slightly bitter taste, so it’s best to use it in things that may already have a bit of bitterness to them, like chocolate or coffee.
When I first tasted the chocolate mixture with stevia, I was a little disappointed, but I think once it got cooked and the other flavors came out, it actually tasted pretty great. I think I may actually like the inclusion of stevia over actual sugar. The pie wasn’t overly sweet, which allowed for the chocolate and rum flavor to really come out. I also used the same crust recipe that I found with last week’s cashew “cheese” cake.
Low-Carb Chocolate Rum Pie
1/2 cup raw almonds (pecan or walnuts will also work)
1/2 cup soft dates (got mine at Wholefoods’ bulk nuts section)
¼ tsp salt
1 ½ cup heavy cream, divided
4 tablespoon water, divided
3 ounce unsweetened baking chocolate, coarsely chopped
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup stevia (or 3/4 cup sugar)
2 teaspoons rum
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Soak cashews in water for at least 5 hours. Overnight is best.
- Place nuts and dates in a food processor with salt and pulse to chop until they are to your desired fineness (process a finer crust longer than a chunky one). Test the crust by spooning out a small amount of mixture and rolling it in your hands. If the ingredients hold together, your crust is perfect. Scoop out crust mixture into a pie pan and press firmly, making sure that the edges are well packed and that the base is relatively even throughout.
- Place 3/4 cup of the cream, 2 tablespoons of the water, chocolate and cocoa powder in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking, until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks, 1/4 cup cream, remaining 2 tablespoons water and the stevia together until blended. Whisk chocolate mixture until smooth. Gradually whisk one-third of the chocolate mixture into the egg-yolk mixture; add to saucepan with remaining chocolate mixture and whisk to combine. Return to heat and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly for 3 minutes (DO NOT OVERCOOK). Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Stir in rum and vanilla extract.
- In a medium bowl, with an electric mixer on medium, beat remaining 1/2 cup cream to soft peaks. Fold in chocolate mixture, folding just until blended and no streaks appear. Pour into prepared pie crust and smooth top. Chill until set, at least 4 hours.
Long ago, my very good friend Maggie gave me a Moosewood Restaurant Book of Desserts. You should really see this thing – it is oozing with desserts broken down into fourteen sections which include: Cobblers and Crisps / Pies, Tarts and Filo Pastries /Layered or Filled Cakes /Poundcakes and Other Cakes / Puddings and Custards / Frozen Desserts / Muffins, Cupcakes, Breads and Coffeecakes. I mean, this thing is thorough and each section is extensive! You really can’t go wrong when a recipe book devotes an entire section to all different types of pound cakes!
Last Saturday, I finally selected my first recipe (hopefully of many) to make from this book – Black Mocha Cake. This was absolutely superb!
Black Mocha Cake
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups unbleached white flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup fresh strong coffee, at room temperature
1 cup milk, buttermilk of yogurt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter or spray the cake pan or place paper liners in the muffin tins, if making cupcakes.
2. In a large bowl, sift together the coca, sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. IN another bowl with a whisk or electric mixer, lightly beat together the oil, coffee, milk, eggs and vanilla. Pour half of the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until smooth. Add the remaining wet ingredients and stir until incorporated.
3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s). Bake for 20-40 mins,* until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pans before frosting.
*Baking Times: 9×13 in pan – 25 to 30 mins; 10 in bundt pan – 30-35 mins; two 9 in round pans – 35-40 mins; two standard 12-cup muffin tins – 20 mins.
Coffee Frosting (I ran out of powdered sugar, so only made half the frosting)
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
4-5 tbsp strong coffee
1 tbsp Kahlua (optional)
Cream the butter and confectioners’ sugar with an electric mixer. Gradually add the coffee and Kahlua, if desired, beating well until the frosting is a good consistency for spreading.