My favorite flourless chocolate cake recipe…and why it’s the answer to America’s obesity epidemic.
That’s right, I said it! Baking and enjoying this chocolate cake will help you lose weight. Now before you draft up your angry comments, pointing out the calories and fat in this recipe, allow me to explain myself.
Am I suggesting you can eat any old pastry whenever you’re “in the mood” and expect to look like Heidi Klum? Absolutely not. The point I’m trying to make is that we Americans can benefit from shifting our mindset about food and learning to enjoy quality instead of gorging on junk and feeling guilty afterward.
The problem we face when it comes to enjoying cake (or other treats) is that junk food is too darn convenient. Where else but America can you scarf down a pillow-sized cinnamon bun while you window shop? Even in Paris, where decadent pastry shops line every street, it’s difficult to find people who are morbidly obese because the culture doesn’t promote a bing and guilt environment. To Parisians, eating is a recreation. People will spend hours at cafes sipping their coffee and enjoying, nay savoring, every morsel of their pastry.
“That’s just not realistic for me” you say? Fine. The solution: bake it yourself.
Baking your own cake takes time. To make this cake, I got in my car, drove to the store, bought the ingredients, spent an hour in the kitchen baking it, washed the dishes after, and waited 5 hours for the cake to properly chill in the fridge. Given the time investment, how often do you think I’ll actually bake and eat this cake? Once a quarter? Maybe. But it’s more like a couple times a year and I’ll even burn some calories doing it!
Another problem with our mindset about “bad food” is the quality that we’ve become immune to.
“Although you rarely meet someone who ‘doesn’t like chocolate,’ what the average American consumes, a chocolate connoisseur would never touch: milk chocolate, white chocolate, or any of the various packaged forms sold in supermarkets and drugstores. This is, quite simply, junk food…”. ~Mireille Guiliano
A book I recently read completely shifted my mindset about eating. In the book, “French Women Don’t Get Fat”, Mireille Guiliano does a tremendous job shedding light on why the American mindset is leading to an obesity epidemic and how learning a little from the French (or any other indigenous culture) can go a long way in helping us live healthier lives. Guiliano claims that the low quality of our food has left us unsatisfied and ultimately fat, because we tend to compensate for the low quality with high quantity.
This cake is made from high quality chocolate (with over 70% cocoa), real butter, and whole eggs. “Too much fat” you say? “What about the calories?” you ask? I say; I’m not worried about either. Like I mentioned before, baking a high quality dessert takes time. It’s a process that’s meant to be enjoyed, and by the time you’ve taken the cake out of the oven, you’ve developed such an intimate relationship with the ingredients that you will savor and enjoy every glorious bite!
What pleasure can one possibly get from driving to a supermarket at 11pm on a Tuesday, grabbing a stale box of Oreos, and offing two sleeves of that crap before you’ve returned to your couch? It’s that type of behavior that leads to obesity, not enjoying a high quality slice of cake once in a blue moon.
“Eat for nourishment, yes, but eat for pleasure. Stop settling for less. ~Anthony Bourdain
It’s really quite simple. To lose weight, you don’t have to ban cake forever, just use your head. Eat treats when it’s absolutely worth it, savor each bite, and for heaven’s sake….eat real butter! There’s nothing worse than a box of “diet desserts”, so full of artificial crap, that they have as much taste and nutritional value as the cardboard they’re packaged in!
Eat balanced meals, move more, and once in a while enjoy a delicious treat that you will have no reason to feel guilty about.
Stale donuts in the conference room? No thanks. Home-made, rich, velvety flourless chocolate cake? Absolutely!Print
flourless chocolate cake
8 eggs (chilled)
2 cups dark chocolate (try 72% cocoa for a dark cake or 60% cocoa for a sweeter cake)
2 sticks butter (cut into chunks)
1/4 C strong coffee (for strong coffee, use 2 Tbsp coffee grinds for every 6oz of filtered water)
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Make the coffee. Chop the chocolate using a serrated knife. Line an 8-inch spring form pan (see note if you don’t have a spring form pan) with parchment paper and generously grease sides of the pan with butter.
2. Bring about 2inches of water to boil in a pot and reduce it to a simmer. Place a heat-proof glass bowl over the simmering water and add the butter and chocolate to the bowl. Stir the chocolate with a rubber spatula until all the chocolate melts.
3. Add the coffee to the chocolate mixture and stir until incorporated.
4. While the chocolate is melting, use an electric mixer to beat the eggs for about 5 minutes. The eggs will look frothy, pale yellow, and will have doubled in volume.
5. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold 1/3 of the eggs into the chocolate. Add a little more of the eggs at a time and gently fold until all the eggs are incorporated and you no longer see yellow streaks in the chocolate.
6. Pour the chocolate mixture in your prepped cake pan. Place the cake pan in a larger roasting pan. Pour boiling water in the roasting pan (creating a water bath to keep the cake moist). The water should come half way up the cake pan.
7. Bake the cake for 22-25min. The middle of the cake will still have a little jiggle to it, it will continue to set as it cooks.
8. Cool the cake on top of a wire rack for at least an hour. Cover the cake with a paper towel (to absorb any condensation) and saran wrap and keep it in the fridge for at least 5 hours or overnight.
Note: use a spring form pan to easily remove the cake. If you don’t have a spring form pan (I used a regular pan) use a sharp knife to cut around the edge of the cake so you can easily flip it onto a serving dish.
This recipe was adapted from the flourless chocolate cake by America’s Test Kitchen.