Monday, 26 January 2009

Birthday chocolate cake and crazy computers

You might be forgiven for thinking I have photographed this flourless cake with a hen because it has a lot of eggs in it. That is not unusual for rich flourless chocolate cakes. But it is because I made this cake for my mum’s birthday a couple of weekends ago and she loves chickens.

This particular one was a birthday present which will go up on her overmantle in the kitchen to accompany the other decorative hens she have collected. She has hopes that one day she will have some live hens in a chook run again. Until then she loves her brood above the wood stove.

When I told my mum I would bring a cake for her birthday lunch, I said unless she had any special requests I would make a chocolate one. She seemed happy with that but once I got off the phone I suddenly wondered if I should be making a cake for the dieters or the celiacs in the family. Catering to both seemed a bit difficult. In the end, I settled for a decadent gluten free cake.

Searching my flourless cake recipes, I was surprised to find that I had not posted a flourless almond cake and thought it was time to make amends with a recipe from the ever-reliable Jill Dupleix. I think I found the recipe in a newspaper many years ago at the time when flourless chocolate cakes were still a bit exotic and gluten free diets were unheard of in my world. It appealed because it wasn’t huge and full of lots of eggs. One other similar recipe had 10-14 eggs in it which seems excessive to me.

It also amused me that Jill D called it Breakfast Chocolate Cake, presumably because she enjoys leftovers for breakfast. I reluctantly renamed it to remember which cake it is.This is an easy rich cake that will appeal widely. A small piece goes a long way so it will please a crowd, or still be around for breakfast.

I was glad to have chosen the gluten free option when my gluten free niece watched the eating of the Bombe Alaska that my mum had bravely made. (I never thought I would like it and wasn’t too keen on the meringue outer layer but loved the pannetone and raspberry icecream layers inside.)

Meanwhile, back home, I am building up a little backlog of posts, as I haven’t had lots of energy for blogging and now computer troubles have complicated the situation. Last week our internet connection was so bad that we couldn’t use it. At the end of the week, we got someone to look at it and they managed to fix the internet connection and crash my computer at the same time. The best he could do was open it in safe mode so I could copy files off it. Grrrr!

We have been talking about me getting a new computer as mine has been slower lately but I didn’t expect to have to do it so quickly, and not in the same week I bought a new camera that I had to adjust to. I bought a new laptop yesterday but decided to change from a PC to a Mac. My first computer was a Mac. E’s computer is a Mac. So I am not totally unfamiliar with them. Yet I am seeking new ways to do everything I have taken for granted. I was unprepared for how very slow and frustrating it would be.

Right now, it feels that if this post gets up on my blog, it will be a huge achievement. Formatting and adding photos are driving me crazy! I hope that soon, I will be more comfortable with this new computer and new way of thinking, but if I am a little slow and clumsy at the moment, you know why!

Jill Dupleix’s Flourless Chocolate Cake

200g good dark chocolate, broken up
1 tbsp brandy, cognac or other liqueur (I used whiskey)
1 tsp ground wattleseed (or coffee)
100g butter
100g caster sugar
100g ground almonds (I used a bit more)
3 eggs, separated

Preheat oven to 160 C. Grease and line an 18cm round cake tin (or if you don’t have one, a 20cm round cake tin will be fine, that is what I used).

In a large microwave proof bowl, melt chocolate, liqueur, wattleseed and butter. Stir in sugar, almonds and egg yolks. Beat egg whites til stiff peaks form. Stir a spoonful into chocolate mixture to lighten it. Fold remainder of egg whites in with a metal spoon. Spoon cake mixture into prepared tin.

Bake for 45 minutes. Cool in tin. (I think I cooled mine for about 4 hours.) Turn out and serve. If desired sprinkle with icing sugar, and accompany with cream and berries. But this is good just by itself.

On the stereo:
Eisiges Licht 2: Various Artists

14 comments:

  1. Congrats on both the cake and the Mac, excellent choices!
    Are you with Telstra? Our connection has been driving us nuts since before Xmas. We lodged a complaint over 2 weeks ago and its still not been attended to, they just keep saying they have an unusually high amount of requests right now. Hmmmmmm...

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  2. Dieters can take a day off more easily than coeliacs, so I think you made the right decision!

    Hope it doesn't take too long for you to get comfortable with the new laptop :)

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  3. The cake looks lovely, almond and chocolate go so well together. Love the chicken figure too - I want chickens myself at some point. Glad your mum enjoyed her birthday.

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  4. Mmmm chocolate cake *drools*. I love the addition of wattleseed!

    Must be the time for it. We've been having loads of internet problems (I think the problem is our line though rather than our ISP, sigh and it costs too much to have them check it for us :()

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  5. What an incredible cake!! I love all the almond flour - gorgeous! Your mother is very lucky to have such a glorious cake baked for her... :-)

    Good luck with the technology challenges!

    P.S. Thank you for your comment on my blog, echoing my thoughts about wasting all that red wine... I'm going to try re-using at least some of it next time - maybe cooked into the pasta sauce? I agree it's a shame to pour all that wine down the drain! :-)

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  6. thanks AOF - no we are with optus but our problem seemed to be the modem which has been replaced and put in a place where Zinc wont sleep on it and it wont be in the sun (common sense I know) - would love to say we get better service than telstra but we haven't had to test them like that!

    Thanks Rachel - you are so right about dieters and coeliacs - I think that was part of my thoughts behind the decision!

    Thanks Katie - I agree with you about chocolate and almond being a classic combination. hope you get your chickens some day

    Thanks Vegetation - our new modem has helped with our connection and I was a bit relieved that was the problem because I dreaded that idea of having to get help with the line! I hate dealing with these call centres. BTW I use wattleseed as I don't like coffee and it seems a good swap

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  7. Sorry about the laptop - my other half uses a Mac but it always takes me a while to get used to it when I use it. He swears by it though. I'm glad it didn't stop you getting that delicious-looking cake up anyway - and I agree both about the 10 egg and the breakfast cake sentiments! I'd try a piece with a cup of tea any time though...
    PS cute hen!

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  8. Well, the cake looks great--and love that photo (you're already doing well with the camera, see?). The glass hen catches the light beautifully, and I love the bowls in the background!

    Years ago I made a great flourless choc cake, and this reminds me of that one (except for the wattleseed--for which I am still searching!). Must have been delicious. And congrats on the new computer--I'm sure you'll master it in no time!

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  9. Thanks Astra Libra - still many challenges ahead - and my mum deserves many glorious cakes! (and will be interested to hear more red wine spaghetti adventures)

    Thanks Lysy - the Mac is still doing my head in but E swears by his - lots of experimentation and learning curve going on in my corner but I haven't thrown it out the window yet which is a definite achievement!

    thanks Ricki - it is still my old camera (as is most of my backlog at the moment!) but I do like this photo - took lots to try and get the texture of the cake and it was one of those days when the first photo pleased me most so why did I bother with all the other photos? And yes it is a great recipe - lots of similar ones around but I like this one.

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  10. Technology sucks.

    New Camera? What kind?

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  11. The cake looks deliciously decadent! I have a student who's obsessed with chickens. He's really quite charming about it.

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  12. Thanks Lucy - I agree - and my camera is a click and shoot canon - an upgrade on the powershot I bought a few years back - but still adjusting!

    thanks Mary - he sounds sweet

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  13. This is what I hate most about getting new computer hardware or software - things get a lot harder and worse before they get better!! Cake looks heavenly though...

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  14. Mmm this cake looks good. I can't believe there are cake recipes that call for 14 eggs! Good luck adjusting to your new Mac laptop.

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