A Flourless Halloween

I’m currently reading My Life in France by Julia Child (thanks, Cathy!). Even though I’m less than a hundred pages in, I’m already inspired by – and mildly jealous of – Julia’s whimsical attitude and buoyant nature. She seemed to delve into any given situation or subject with a blind enthusiasm, striking maturity and an unyielding positivity. She had a sophisticated wit, and an enveloping joie de vivre. A favorite quote? “Add butter. Sprinkle with parsley (or not). Serve. Dazzle.” Yes, yes, YES! Needless to say, I’m trying to apply this methodology to my own existence: Embrace life. Live in the moment. Be who you are. Stop and smell the roses. Buck up, buttercup.

Let me just say that this has nothing to do with Halloween, or flourless chocolate cake, for that matter… Or does it?

Cake Trio

In years past, Hubs and I would go out of our way to dress up for Halloween. One year we were peas and carrots. Another year we were Dog the Bounty Hunter and his (lovely?) wife, Beth. The year after that we were Posh and Becks. The following year I was Rainbow Brite and he was a Golden Parachute. We’d plan weeks ahead. We’d spend more money than reasonably justifiable on the perfect additions to our costumes. We’d go to parties and dance the night away, drinking entirely too much OE and Franzia, stumbling home at some ungodly hour and suffering from our careless overindulgence all the next day. In other words, we had FUN.

Farmers’ Market Eggs

And then something happened. Halloween parties became fewer and further between. Dressing up seemed like more of a chore than a joy. Staying home and watching scary movies sounded better than going out. Handing out candy to darling trick-or-treaters was actually amusing. What was happening to us? What murky fog had descended over our debaucherous Halloween celebrations? Oh, I know! Adulthood!

Instead of fighting off the mellowness of adulthood by vainly grasping at the disappearing entity that was my wild, spastic youth, I’m embracing it. I’m seizing it. Hell, I’m living it, and Halloween is a prime example of that. Gone are the days of overspending on a costume and over-imbibing at a party; those days have been replaced by overspending on cute Halloween decorations at Target and over-thinking which candy would be healthier for kids. Oh, and of course, baking goodies for my own big kid, darling Hubs. Hobbs House Halloween Goodie 2010? Flourless chocolate cake.

Ground Toasted Almonds

Flourless chocolate cake really seemed to gain popularity within the last decade, possibly because of the rise of the gluten-free diet or, god forbid, the Atkins diet. The cake is indeed that – flourless. It rises with the help of beaten egg whites, gets it chocolaty richness from cocoa powder, and comes together in an intensely decadent, roof-of-the-mouth-sticking dessert. My version contained toasted ground almonds, which can be ground from coarse to fine, depending on your personal preference.

The steps are relatively simple, but as with any baking recipe, there are several of them. With some careful attention and a dash of patience, you can have your own piece of chocolaty heaven in just over an hour. Taking it to a Halloween party? Make a quick stencil with a piece of paper and an X-Acto knife, and dust powdered sugar over top. Easy-squeezy. And cutsie-tootsie. Julia would approve, I promise. Enjoy!

Flyer Foodie on Facebook
Like what you just read? Then join me on Facebook for daily foodie inspiration and to share your meals and ideas with others! You can find me at facebook.com/flyerfoodie.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Download this recipe

6 Tbs. unsalted butter, plus more for greasing pan
1 1/4 c. sugar
6 eggs, separated
5 Tbs. instant coffee
6 Tbs. cocoa powder
5 Tbs. whiskey
1 Tbs. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. toasted, ground almonds
Flour for coating pan
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting

Flourless Batter

Preheat the oven to 375°. Butter and flour a 9″ cake pan. Melt the 6 Tbs. butter in a double boiler, or in a glass bowl over simmering water. Once the butter is melted, whisk in the sugar and the egg yolks, and cook for five minutes, whisking constantly, until the eggs are ribbon-like and light in color. Whisk in the instant coffee, cocoa powder, whiskey, vanilla and ground almonds, and continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture becomes smooth and creamy. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

In a clean, separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they just begin to stiffen and hold soft peaks (not hard peaks). Gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate batter. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake until firm and beginning to separate from the sides, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool 30 minutes more. Flip the cake onto a serving platter, and dust with powdered sugar. Keep at room temperature for three days, or in the fridge for a week.

* If the above slideshow doesn’t load, you can view all the photos from this set on Flickr.

Laura Hobbs is a regular contributor for the Fayetteville Flyer. She was born and raised in Fayetteville. She is a self-proclaimed foodie and avid cook. For more of Laura’s contributions, see her author page or visit Flyer Foodie on Facebook.