When Lauren sent me a text asking if I could meet her at the Chocolate Room, I knew she’d had a rough day. For some people comfort food is mac n’ cheese but for Lauren it was chocolate cake. Not fluffy little cupcakes that are fun & celebratory, but the comforting, melt-in-your mouth richness of flourless chocolate cake.
My friend Lauren was breaking up with her boyfriend of two years, the guy she was engaged to and she needed moral support before doing the deed. The Chocolate Room was our local go-to spot for great desserts and a glass or two of wine. It had been in the neighborhood a long time and being the personable girl she is, Lauren is buddies with the manager and wait staff there. When we entered the manager came over to say hi and he wanted to hear if there were any updates to the Ramon situation.
It became known as the ‘Ramon situation’ early in the relationship when Lauren concluded that Ramon wasn’t the right guy and maybe she should break up with him but before she did that she needed to talk about it a lot. Many, many hours had been logged discussing the Ramon situation. So one year and six months into it, I was skeptical that she would go through with it until she told me that that morning she’d signed a lease on an apartment upstate. She was moving out of the city at the end of the month and Ramon wasn’t coming with her.
I’ve lived within five blocks of Lauren for six years. She’s the person I text when I want a buddy to go running in the park or explore a new bar in the neighborhood. She has my extra set of keys and watches my cat when I’m away. I was going to need the comfort of the chocolate cake too. I hate when friends move away.
When it arrived, it was everything a flourless chocolate cake should be. I’m going to be sad to loose Lauren but she’s wanted to move upstate for years so it’s great that she’s finally doing it. I know she’ll be happy being close to all her favorite outdoor activities up there and she’s getting a two bedroom so her friends and come up for visits.
After we finished the cake, we lingered over wine as we talked over best wording for the break up call. Once you’ve already broken up with someone in person twice, I think you’re totally justified to do it over the phone the third time. As we left we thanked the manager for the free Malbac’s he’d sent over and he gave Lauren a few last words of encouragement. When we parted I gave her my final ‘you’re better off without him’ talk and a hug. Then I went home and crossed my fingers hoping she’d actually do it.
A few hours later I got the text saying it was over. Yay! It made me so happy… the end of the Ramon situation. This weekend I’ll have to have her over to celebrate (maybe with some fluffy cupcakes) and see the pictures of her new place.
Individual flourless chocolate cakes are great because no one really wants to share. These are intensely chocolaty so make them small. I only fill up the cupcake holders half way otherwise they would be overwhelming. They keep for several days and are great with whipped cream and raspberries but they’re also pretty dam good after a few seconds in the microwave with a cold glass of milk.
I like semisweet chocolate (Callebaut and Ghirardelli brands work well here) for this recipe but if you’re a purest and like your chocolate really dark, try the bittersweet. Just remember there’s no additional sugar so they’ll be only as sweet as the chocolate you use.
Even though these cupcakes won’t look done pull them from the oven when an instant read thermometer registers 140 degrees from the middle of the cake (don’t let the thermometer hit the bottom of the pan). The cupcakes will continue to cook and firm up after you remove them from the oven.
Individual Flourless Chocolate Cakes (1 dozen small cupcakes)
(Active time: 30 minutes Total time: 8 hours)
- 4 large eggs, cold
- 8 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
- raspberries, whipped cream, and/or confectioners’ sugar for decoration (optional)
Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees. Line cupcake pan with parchment paper cupcake liners (they’re easier to remove) or regular cupcake liners. Bring a kettle of water to boil.
Beat eggs on high speed until the volume doubles, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of almost simmering water, until smooth and very warm, roughly 115 degrees, stirring frequently. Fold 1/3 of the egg foam into chocolate mixture with a rubber spatula until only a few streaks of egg is visible. Fold in half the remaining foam, then the last of the remaining foam, until the mixture is homogenous.
Evenly distribute the batter into a lined cupcake pan. Set the roasting pan on the oven track. Pour in enough boiling water from the kettle to reach half way up the cupcake pan. Gently set the cupcake pan onto the roasting pan and bake the cupcakes until the cakes have risen slightly, edges are just beginning to set, a thin glazed crust has formed, and an instant read thermometer inserted into the center of the cake reads 140 degrees, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the cupcake pan from oven and water bath and cool on wire rack. Once cool, cover and refrigerate overnight. They’ll keep covered and refrigerated for up to 4 days.
Remove cakes from refrigerator 20 minutes before serving to come to room temperature. Serve with whipped cream and raspberries or a sprinkle of confectioners’ sugar.
*Flourless Chocolate Cake is great with a glass of cold milk, vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, raspberries, and/or raspberry sauce.
-My Individual Flourless Chocolate Cakes recipe was adapted from The Best Recipe Cookbook.