Saturday, November 21, 2015

Flourless Oozy Peppermint Patty Cake

Right about now my bag of all-purpose flour is giving me the stink eye. It's wondering why the heck I haven't touched it in a month. I told it to relax, "You will get some action soon enough", I said. It nodded and went back into the pantry. Did that just get weird?

This is my last post for No-Wheat November and gluten will be back in the spotlight in time for Christmas. But, right now let's focus on the grand sight in front of us. This cake.

It's hard to believe that I don't like chocolate mint combinations by looking at this post. Imagine the best chocolate cake you have ever had and mash that thought up with gooey creamy minted white chocolate ganache. It is basically a chocolate party and mint just totally crashed.

Truth is, I do like chocolate mint when done right! By right I mean with dark chocolate and with lots of it. Milk chocolate and mint doesn't work for me. It's just sweet on sweet.

This here is the kind of cake you show off with. Bring it to the center of the dinner table, cut into it and let the oooohs and aaahhhs begin. I don't know what it is about oozing and exploding things that gets people all excited. If I could find a way to make this cake explode safely, I would. For now oozing will be enough.

Get your eggs out, get your motor running and double check your dark chocolate stash because we are gonna give 'er!

You need 6 eggs, but only 5 yolks. Save the other one to make a killer omelette. The higher white to yolk ratio means I'm after slightly more aeration to make this rich cake still feel light on the palate. Afterall, there's still butter and 200g of bitterawesome chocolate going in. Do use the bittersweet stuff - we need at least 70% cocoa solids. We need the solids to help give structure to this cake but we also need it to taste strong otherwise the whole thing will be far too sweet.

We need to save the sweentess for function because a certain amount of sugar is required to stabilize our eggs. Yolks and whites get whipped separately but each session requires some sugar. Yolks come to the ribbon stage before melted butter and chocolate gets folded in. Take the time to make sure your melted chocolate mixture cools down enough before this step because heat will destabilize the egg foam. 

Softly peaked whites fold through next and this incredibly moussey batter goes into an ungreased non-stick springform pan.

Once baked it will puff up like a balloon but don't expect this to last. It will deflate and sink once cooled which is totally normal. It's just like a souffle, except even more delicate since we haven't used any flour or starches to thicken the mixture. It would be completely boring and unoriginal if we didn't make use of this empty space that screams for something to fill it... so of course the answer is chocolate. Two times chocolate and two different ways...

The peppermint patty story begins now. Once the cake is completely cooled it's time to pour in slightly cooled white chocolate ganache infused with peppermint extract. Your patience will be tested now that you need to let this layer set up a bit in the fridge before pouring on the next layer of dark ganache. Your patience will also be exposed when you cut the cake - very runny means very impatient, gooey means punctual, firm set means you totally forgot about it. You can see which one I am... Clearly I am the queen of patience.

No doubt it took me less than 26 seconds to clean this plate. Let's not waste any more time and give this recipe a work-out!


Flourless Oozy Peppermint Patty Cake
Makes 8-10 servings

For the cake:
200g (7oz) bittersweet chocolate (70% cocoa)
84g (6 tbsp) unsalted butter
½ tsp vanilla extract
5 large egg yolks
6 large egg whites
½ cup (100g) plus 1 tbsp sugar (15g), divided
¼ tsp salt

For the peppermint filling:
150g (5 ¼ oz) white chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup (80ml) 35% whipping cream
½ tsp vanilla
½ tsp peppermint extract

For the dark chocolate ganache:
170g (6 oz) dark chocolate, chopped
2/3 cup (150ml) 35% whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line the base of an 8-inch round springform pan with parchment paper. Do not grease the sides.

Melt chocolate and butter in a small saucepan over low heat until smooth. Stir in vanilla and then set aside until cool but still fluid.

In a mixing bowl, beat egg yolks on low using an electric mixer. Gradually add ½ cup of sugar and then increase speed to high and beat until thick and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Fold in cooled chocolate mixture.

Beat egg whites with salt in a separate clean bowl until frothy. Increase speed to med-high and beat until they start to hold shape, then beat in remaining 1 tbsp of sugar. Beat until they hold soft peaks. Fold into chocolate mixture.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the surface is dull, domed and feels firm but with a bit of a wiggle. It will darken around the edges. Let cool to room temperature, watching it sink slightly as it cools.

To make the peppermint filling, place white chocolate in a bowl. Bring cream to a simmer and pour over top. Stir until smooth and glossy. Stir in vanilla and peppermint extracts. Pour filling into center of cooled cake, filling in the sunken part. Refrigerate until set, at least 1 hour.

To make the chocolate ganache, place dark chocolate in a bowl. Bring cream to a simmer and pour over top. Stir until smooth and glossy. Let cool for 15 minutes, until no longer warm but still pourable. Pour ganache over top of peppermint later and refrigerate until set.

For an oozy, melty center like I’ve shown, do not let the peppermint layer set completely. Instead, gently pour slightly warm dark chocolate ganache over slightly set peppermint ganache and carefully spread it out. There should be a skin on the surface of the peppermint layer, but it should not be completely set before adding the dark chocolate layer. Refrigerate until top is just set and serve.

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