It likely started as a mistake. Italians on the Isle of Capri will tell you that Torta Caprese came into existence in the 1920s, when a baker mistakenly left wheat flour out of an almond cake he was making. The result was sort of a cross between brownies and pound cake, with a hard-shell top and a rich, dense interior. It was an immediate hit and considered a delicacy.
Of course, flourless cakes are a staple in Jewish households during Passover, when neither flour nor leavening agents are allowed. (Some leaveners are found in the recipes here, though.)
If you wonder why flourless cakes don't rise as high as cakes that contain flour, blame the absence of gluten, which naturally occurs in wheat flour. Think of the woven strands of gluten in flour as the foundation on which a cake or bread is built. When gluten is activated by a leavener, such as baking soda, baking powder or yeast, it expands.
Some bakers like a bit more lift in their flourless cakes. One trick is to separate the eggs in the recipe, beating the whites to add some air to the batter.
Many flourless cake recipes use almond or rice flour as substitutes, though they are minus gluten. The recipes here do not use any type of flour. But, you will need to check whether or not these are truly gluten-free recipes if you are allergic or have celiac disease. There may be some in other ingredients I am not aware of.
Flourless Honey-Almond Cake
1 1/2 cups whole almonds, toasted*
4 large eggs, at room temperature, separated**
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom with parchment paper and spray the paper.
2. Process whole almonds in a food processor or blender until finely ground (you will have about 1 3/4 cups ground).
3. Beat 4 egg yolks, 1/2 cup honey, vanilla, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer (or use a paddle attachment on a stand mixer) on medium speed until well combined. Add the ground almonds and beat on low until combined.
4. Beat 4 egg whites in another large bowl with the electric mixer (use clean beaters on a hand-held mixer or the whisk attachment on a stand mixer) on medium speed until very foamy, white and doubled in volume, but not stiff enough to hold peaks, 1 to 2 minutes (depending on the type of mixer).
5. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the nut mixture until just combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
6. Bake the cake until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, about 28 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and gently remove the side ring. Let cool completely.
7. If desired, remove the cake from the pan bottom by gently sliding a large, wide spatula between the cake and the parchment paper. Carefully transfer the cake to a serving platter. To serve, drizzle the top of the cake with 2 tablespoons honey and sprinkle with sliced toasted almonds.
Makes 10 slices, each with 234 calories, 14 grams fat, 22 grams carbohydrates, 8 grams protein, 208 mg sodium, 3 grams fiber, 85 mg cholesterol.
*Tip: To toast whole almonds, spread on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees, stirring once, until fragrant, 7 to 9 minutes.
To toast sliced almonds, cook in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes.
**Tip: Eggs must be at room temperature for the proteins to unwind enough to support the cake's crumb. Either set the eggs out on the counter for 15 minutes or submerge them in their shells in a bowl of lukewarm (not hot) water for 5 minutes before using.
To make ahead: Store the cooled cake airtight at room temperature for up to 1 day. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with almonds just before serving.
This easy flourless chocolate cake will delight guests with its airy texture and intense chocolate flavor. Here it is filled with Grand Marnier whipped cream (see notes below for other flavor ideas). Several brands of chocolate were tried, with Lindt and Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolates producing the best flavor and texture for this particular cake.
This cake depends on separated eggs for its lightness and airy texture.
Lighter Than Air Chocolate Roll
6 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped
3 tablespoons water
6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons confectioners sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh orange zest
Unsweetened cocoa powder and confectioners sugar
Make cake layer: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 15- by-10- by 1-inch shallow baking pan and line bottom lengthwise with a large piece of wax or parchment paper, letting paper hang over ends by 2 inches.
Melt chocolate with water in a small heavy saucepan over very low heat, stirring. Cool to lukewarm.
Beat yolks, 1/3 cup sugar and salt in a large bowl with an electric mixer until thick and pale, about 5 minutes in a standing mixer or about 8 minutes with a hand-held mixer.
Fold in melted chocolate until blended.
Beat whites with cleaned beaters until they just hold soft peaks.
Gradually add remaining 1/3 cup sugar and beat until whites just hold stiff peaks.
Fold one-third of whites into melted-chocolate mixture to lighten, then fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly.
Spread batter evenly in baking pan and bake in middle of oven until puffed and top is dry to the touch, 15 to 18 minutes.
Transfer pan to a rack. Cover top with 2 layers of damp paper towels and let stand 5 minutes, then remove towels and cool completely. Loosen edges with a sharp knife.
Sift cocoa powder over top of cake layer and overlap 2 layers of wax paper lengthwise over cake. Place a baking sheet over paper and invert cake onto it, gently peeling off wax paper lining. (Don't worry if cake layer breaks; it will hold together when rolled.)
Make filling: Beat cream with confectioners sugar and Grand Marnier with cleaned beaters until it just holds stiff peaks. Fold in zest.
Fill and roll cake: Spread filling evenly over cake. Put a long platter next to a long side of cake. Using wax paper as an aid, roll up cake jelly roll-style, beginning with a long side. Carefully transfer, seam side down, to platter, using wax paper to help slide cake. (Cake will crack but will still hold together.)
Dust cake generously with cocoa powder and confectioners sugar.
Notes: (*225*)Cake may be rolled 1 day ahead and chilled in a cake keeper or loosely covered with plastic wrap.
Substitutions: You can substitute the following for Grand Marnier and orange zest: 2 tablespoons Cognac and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla; 2 tablespoons cocoa and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla; or 2 teaspoons instant-espresso powder or instant-coffee granules dissolved in 2 teaspoons water plus 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract.
This batter can also be baked in an ungreased 9 1/2-inch springform pan. Bake until cake is set but still moist in center, 35 to 40 minutes (cake will rise and then sink as it cools). Top with Grand Marnier whipped cream.
This crunchy, spicy carrot cake is much lighter and less sweet than similar recipes. It's important to grate the carrots on the fine holes of your grater, or else they'll remain too crunchy. For best results, wrap the cake tightly in plastic after it cools and serve it the next day. It will keep for five days in the refrigerator if wrapped airtight.
Flourless Carrot Cake
1 1/2 cups (1/2 pound) unsalted toasted almonds
1/4 cup raw brown (turbinado) sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
4 large eggs
1/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups finely grated carrots (about 10 ounces)
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the middle. Oil a 9-inch springform pan, and line it with parchment. Lightly oil the parchment.
2. Combine the almonds and the turbinado sugar in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Blend until the almonds are finely ground. Add the baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon zest, and pulse together.
3. Beat the eggs until thick in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or with an electric beater.
4. Add the white sugar and continue to beat until the mixture is thick and forms a thick ribbon when lifted from the bowl with a spatula. (Beating to the "ribbon" stage means that when you drizzle some of the batter over the top of the bowl in the shape of a ribbon, it should hold that ribbon on top for a bit before it sinks back into the rest of the batter.)
5. Beat in the vanilla. Add the almond mixture and the carrots in three alternating additions, and slowly fold in each time.
6. Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake 1 hour until firm to the touch and beginning to pull away from the pan. A toothpick inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean. Remove from the heat, and allow to cool on a rack for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the pan, and carefully remove the spring form ring. Allow the cake to cool completely, then wrap tightly in plastic.
Yield: Serves 12 slices, each with 174 calories, 11 grams fat, 71 grams cholesterol, 15 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams dietary fiber, 112 mg sodium, 6 grams protein.
Optional Cream Cheese Frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat 8 ounces very soft cream cheese and 2 tablespoons very soft butter until completely smooth and creamy, 2-3 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 2 teaspoons lemon juice and a pinch of salt; mix well to combine. Sift in 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar and continue mixing, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until very smooth. Makes enough to frost one 9-inch cake. Top with walnuts, if desired.
mmmthatsgood.blogspot.com. and Martha Rose Shulman, author of "The Very Best of Recipes for Health" (Rodale Books)
This recipe tastes very much like a fudgy cheesecake.
FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE & VANILLA MARBLE CAKE
8 ounce cream cheese (room temperature)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate finely chopped
10 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into pieces
3 large eggs
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon espresso
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of table salt
Preheat oven to 300 degrees and position rack in the middle of your oven. Lightly grease a 9-by-2-inch cake pan or springform pan and line bottom with parchment paper.
Vanilla batter: In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese with electric mixer until smooth.
Add sugar and beat until well-blended and no lumps remain.
Add eggs and vanilla and beat just until blended, set aside.
Chocolate batter: In another medium bowl, melt the chocolate and butter over a pan of simmering water (or in the microwave); whisk until smooth and let cool slightly.
Using a stand mixer fitted with whisk, beat the eggs, sugar, espresso, vanilla and salt on medium high until pale and thick (3 or 4 minutes). Turn mixer to low and gradually pour in the melted chocolate mixture and continue beating until well blended.
Assemble: Spread half of the chocolate mixture into the prepared pan. Alternately add large scoops of the vanilla batter and the rest of the chocolate batter to the cake pan. Use a knife to gently swirl the two batters together so they are mixed, but not completely blended. Rap the pan against the counter top a few times to settle the batters.
Bake 40 to 48 minutes, or until a pick inserted 2 inches from outer edge of cake comes out gooey but not liquid. The top of the cake will be puffed and slightly cracked around the edges. It will settle as it cools.
Cover and refrigerate until very cold, at least 4 hours or overnight.
Note: This cake is extremely rich, much like cheesecake, so cut small slices.
Substitution: If you don't have bittersweet chocolate, use semi-sweet.
The comments on this recipe online at Epicurious.com were mostly very positive, though a couple bakers noted that the top either sank a bit or cracked, both of which are very typical of flour cakes. One home baker said she solved both those issues by baking the cake 50 minutes at 250 degrees. Low and slow is a perfectly acceptable way to bake any cake, experts say.
Flourless Chocolate Cake with Caramel Sauce
1 cup butter, cut into pieces
8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (1 1/2 cups)
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (sifted)
1 1/2 cups sugar*
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup heavy or whipping cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Vanilla ice cream
For batter: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 10-inch-diameter springform pan. Line bottom with waxed paper.
Stir butter and chocolate in heavy large saucepan over low heat until melted.
Mix sugar and cocoa in large bowl. Add eggs; whisk until well blended. Whisk in chocolate-butter mixture.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool cake completely in pan on rack. Run knife around pan sides to loosen cake. Release pan sides. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
For caramel sauce: Stir sugar, water and lemon juice in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves.
Increase heat; boil without stirring until syrup is deep amber color, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat.
Add in cream (mixture will bubble vigorously). Return to low heat; stir until any bits of caramel dissolve. Add butter; whisk until smooth. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)
Cut cake into wedges. If desired, arrange wedges on baking sheet and rewarm in 350-degree oven 10 minutes. Rewarm caramel sauce over medium-low heat, stirring often. Place 1 cake wedge on each plate. Drizzle with warm caramel sauce. Serve with ice cream.
Note: Several home bakers said they cut the amount of sugar in the batter to 1 cup or less when using the sweet caramel sauce on top.
Bon Appetit, October 2002
If you are looking for a Passover dessert that is simple to make, can be prepared up to a week in advance and delivers pure chocolate decadence, this recipe is for you. The raspberry sauce to accompany it, made with a bag of frozen raspberries, a bit of sugar and a spoonful of lemon juice, couldn't be easier. If you'd like, you could also add a dollop of whipped cream or nondairy whipped topping to each serving.
FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE CAKE WITH RASPBERRY SAUCE
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter or margarine, plus more for greasing pan
1 pound bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
8 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (12-ounce) bag frozen raspberries, thawed
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1. Place a large roasting pan on middle rack of oven and pour in 1/2 inch of very hot tap water. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grease bottom and sides of 9-inch springform pan, line with parchment paper and grease parchment. Place pan on a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil and mold foil to sides, but not over top, of pan to prevent water from seeping in.
3. Put 1 inch of water in bottom of double boiler or large saucepan and bring to a bare simmer. Combine butter or margarine and chocolate in top of double boiler or in a stainless steel bowl big enough to rest on top of saucepan and place on top of simmering water. Heat, whisking occasionally, until completely melted. Set aside to cool slightly.
4. Whisk eggs, vanilla (if using) and salt into chocolate mixture until well combined. Scrape batter into prepared pan. Carefully place pan into roasting pan of hot water and bake until set around the edges but still a little loose in center, 40 to 45 minutes. Carefully lift pan from water and let cool on a wire rack. Cover cake, still in pan, with plastic (make sure plastic wrap doesn't touch surface of cake) and refrigerate overnight or up to 1 week.
5. Make raspberry sauce: Combine raspberries, sugar and lemon juice in work bowl of food processor, and process until smooth. Press through a fine strainer and into a bowl. Discard seeds.
6. Run a sharp paring knife around edge of springform pan, remove pan sides, invert cake onto a sheet of wax paper, peel away parchment and re-invent onto serving platter. Slice and serve with raspberry sauce. Makes 8 servings.
Flourless Sponge Cake
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
4 eggs, separated
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups corn flour*
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup strawberry jam, warmed
1 cup strawberries, thinly sliced
White icing, optional
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 2 springform pans with baking spray, then line with baking paper. The baking spray helps keep the paper from moving around.
2. In a microwave bowl or small saucepan, place the sugar and water. Bring to a boil. Stir every now and then to dissolve the sugar.
3. Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff. Slowly drizzle in the hot sugar mixture with the mixer running. Then beat really hard for 3 minutes. Mix in egg yolks and vanilla.
4. Sift together corn flour, baking powder and salt. Carefully fold these into the egg mixture. Pour into prepared pans.
5. Bake 18-20 minutes. As soon as you remove them from the oven, drop the pans from knee height, square on the floor -- seriously! This is a strange sponge-making trick that "shocks" the cake and stops it from deflating.
6. Then immediatly turn sponges out onto a wire rack or baking paper to cool upside down.
7. Filling: Beat cream and vanilla until soft peaks form. Warm jam for a few seconds in the microwave.
8. Place one sponge on the serving plate. Spread first with jam, then whipped cream.Top with strawberry slices. Then put second sponge on top. Drizzle with icing, if desired
*If you can't find corn flour in the store, substitute an equal amount of corn meal ground in your food processor to a fine consistency.
Food.com, recipe from Jo Seagar's "It's Easier Than You Think" cookbook