Another sweet treat today! It was one of my best friends’ birthday a couple of days ago and I’m baking him a cake. This is usually an excuse for me to bake something new that I’ve been plotting or to use a flavour combination that I’ve been craving but the slight twist in this tale is that my friend is a coeliac and has been gluten-free since childhood (I cannot even imagine a life without bread so struggle to understand how he manages – he assures me I’m just unimaginative). I have decided that secretly feeding him flour is not an option (I think that would probably qualify as bad friend behaviour) so what to bake?
I have opted for these mini flourless chocolate cakes, reinforced with ground almonds and fortified with rum, served with a large dollop of whipped rum creme fraiche. It would appear that I am going through an “I can only cook with booze” phase but I don’t hear anyone complaining…
These cocoa-y delights are rich in taste yet surprisingly light and airy in texture and are sure to put a smile on the faces of chocolate-lovers and gluten-intolerant guests alike – be sure to make extra!
You can of course use whipping cream instead of creme fraiche but I love the slight tang of creme fraiche and it’s better for you too!
Gluten-free chocolate cakes with whipped rum creme fraiche
Makes 8 individual cakes or an 18cm cake
For the cake:
– 120g good quality dark chocolate, roughly chopped
– 120g unsalted butter, softened (plus extra for greasing)
– 200g caster sugar
– 5 medium eggs (free range please)
– 120g ground almonds
– 3 teaspoons cocoa powder, sifted
– 3 tablespoons dark rum
– icing sugar, to decorate
For the rum creme fraiche:
– 2 tablespoons dark rum
– 2 tablespoons icing sugar
– 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 300ml full fat creme fraiche
Preheat the oven to 180°C and line the base of your tin(s) with baking paper and grease the sides with butter.
Put the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and heat in the microwave until the chocolate has just melted. Tip: I heated it in 15 second blasts, stirring in between, and it took about 1 minute in my 800W microwave. Set aside to cool.
Using the whisk attachment of your food mixer (or a hand-held electric whisk), whisk the sugar and eggs together until very foamy and pale. Good luck if you’re doing it by hand!
Gently fold in the almonds and cocoa powder, followed by the melted chocolate and rum. Tip: Be careful not to knock out the air at this point by over-mixing (I find this step easiest by hand as mixers can be over-enthusiastic)!
Scoop the mixture into the tin(s) and bake for 20-25 minutes (if making the 10cm cakes) or 35-40 minutes (if making the 18cm cake), until the cake is just firm on top but still a little sticky in the middle (a skewer won’t come out clean). Tip: Work fast for a lighter-than-air cake – I baked mine in two batches and the second batch had a much fudgier consistency than the first as the batter had deflated a little whilst sitting.
To make the rum creme fraiche, whisk all the ingredients together until the mixture forms soft peaks. Tip: It is important (I am told) to use full fat creme fraiche to get a true ‘whipped’ consistency.
If serving cold, cool in the tin(s), draping a tea towel on top after about five minutes to keep the moisture in. If serving warm, leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes (this will make the cake(s) easier to ease out) and then turn out.
Dust with icing sugar and serve with a dollop of rum creme fraiche. Tip: I find the neatest way to dust small cakes or tarts is by using a tea strainer (which acts as a miniature sieve – it makes you feel like a giant!).
Source: Cake recipe adapted from a Nigella recipe; creme fraiche recipe and photos by pip & little blue.