A rich and indulgent flourless truffle-like chocolate cake. Perfect as a make ahead dinner party dessert, this cloud forest chocolate cake is naturally gluten free.
This is a tale of falling windows, fabulous neighbours, goose eggs but mostly flourless chocolate cakes. Because I have not one, but two recipes for you. Both are a decadent mix of butter, sugar, eggs, almonds and above all rich dark chocolate.
You’re already expecting to find my version of Willie’s cloud forest chocolate cake. But I have a surprise version of Claudia Roden’s gâteau au chocolat for you too.
When I wrote my post on duck eggs nearly two years ago I was intrigued by the picture of a goose egg. I’ve been yearning to get my hands on one ever since. Goose eggs are meant to be even better than duck eggs for baking. But where on earth do you get them?
Well, I couldn’t quite believe it when I went to buy my duck eggs from our local weekly produce market one day. Right next to the duck eggs was a basket of three goose eggs. I bought one immediately.
I’d only left the market about a minute when I turned around and raced back again to buy the other two. Who knew how long it might be before I’d be able to get my hands on another one?
I’d been told goose eggs are particularly delicious when fried or scrambled. Well it seemed a shame to scramble my first ever goose egg, so we had one each, fried for breakfast the following day. They were enormous and virtually covered the whole plate. See the above comparison with a duck egg if you don’t believe me. Those goose eggs kept us going down at the plot for a good many hours.
But what to do with my remaining egg? It just so happens that I’d been wanting to make Willie’s famous cloud forest chocolate cake ever since I first saw it. But I was waiting for the right occasion. Well really, what could be more special than baking a rich flourless cake with a goose egg?
Willie’s Cloud Forest Chocolate Cake
Willie’s Chocolate Factory Cookbook was thus unearthed and I proceeded to melt his Venezuelan Black 100% cocoa. As usual I did things my way. I’m all for the least amount of fuss and washing up, so I tend to simplify recipes which seem unnecessarily complicated.
I didn’t grate the chocolate first, as Willie prescribes in his recipe. Nor did I melt the butter and chocolate in a pan suspended over boiling water. I find it’s fine to do it in a saucepan directly, as long as the heat is a gentle one.
As the egg, although large wasn’t quite worth six chicken eggs and as I only had 160g of the cocoa, I made a smaller cake than the stated one and had to adjust quantities for the other ingredients.
The cake is quite a simple one to make, as long as you have electric beaters. You can whisk the eggs and sugar together by hand but it takes some doing. It doesn’t take long to get it into the oven either, which is always a bonus.
My favourite part is mixing the melted chocolate into the whipped eggs. You get such lovely swirly patterns. You do need to be careful and fold the mixture together as gently as possible, as you want to keep as much air in as possible. But it is fun.
The cake cooked to perfection. But I was too impatient to try it, so I didn’t leave the cake long enough to cool before scattering over the grated chocolate. Thus the chocolate proceeded to melt which meant the cake didn’t look nearly as sophisticated as it was meant to. My impatience is often my downfall.
But What Does It Taste Like?
Willie covers his cloud forest cake with chocolate ganache icing, but I don’t. It’s perfectly rich and delicious enough on its own. I find a ganache topping is overkill. So I just dust the top of the cake with finely grated chocolate. You could use icing sugar instead.
This cloud forest chocolate cake had such a powerful chocolate smell whilst cooking. It made my stomach rumble, even though I’d only just had lunch. It’s rich, dense, truffley and gorgeous. CT reckoned, when we finally got to try it, that it was an adult only experience. The taste and aroma of chocolate is very strong. The texture is mousse like and more like a brownie than a cake. But it isn’t in the least bit sweet and has a robust underlying bitterness that’s a bit like beer.
Windows and Neighbours
We have fabulous next door neighbours and count ourselves very lucky. Not only do they take most of our parcels when we’re away, but they have helped us out in a crisis a number of times.
One Saturday, part of our bedroom window fell away, ripping off some roof tiles in the process. This isn’t great at the best of times, but especially it was especially bad then as the weather was very wet and windy. And there was worse to come.
Out came the long ladder and various tools and really, in quite a short space of time, our neighbours had fixed it for us. To say a heartfelt thank you, I baked them Claudia Rodin’s gâteau au chocolat. It went down very well and the empty plate came back in less than an hour. The plate was accompanied by a beaming smile and a report that it was very good and they’d polished it off rapidly.
Claudia Roden’s Gâteau au Chocolat
Willie’s cloud forest chocolate cake is very similar to my version of Claudia Roden’s gâteau au chocolat. The method, however, is slightly different, as are the quantities. I’ve made it a few times and it’s also delicious. It contains less sugar (pro rata) than Willie’s and produces a smaller cake.
Most of the photos shown in this post are of the gâteau au chocolat. We enjoyed it most recently with rose syrup whipped cream and our own homegrown strawberries.
For Claudia’s chocolate cake, you need to separate the eggs first. Beat the yolks with the sugar until the mixture is thick and pale. Then you fold in the chocolate and butter mixture along with the ground almonds. Finally you need to whisk the egg whites until stiff and fold them in. Bake in a 20cm round silicone mould or lined tin at 180℃ (350℉, Gas 4) for twenty minutes.
I find duck eggs work particularly well in this cake, although a goose egg would be lovely too. I also use cardamom sugar which gives subtle fragrant spicy notes.
To make cardamom sugar, fill a large jar with golden caster sugar. Add about twenty cardamom pods and give the jar a good shake. Leave for at least a week and keep the sugar topped up. This means you can use it on an ongoing basis. You’ll need to sieve the sugar when you use it so you can catch any stray cardamom pods. Return this back to the jar.
- 125g 70% dark chocolate
- 50g unsalted butter
- 3 extra large eggs (I use duck eggs)
- 35g golden caster sugar (I use cardamom sugar, see above)
- 50g ground almonds
Other Flourless Chocolate Cakes You Might Like
- Chocolate almond cake
- Chocolate polenta cake
- Coffee cardamom mousse cake
- Nigella’s pistachio chocolate cake
Keep in Touch
Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you make my version of Willie’s cloud forest chocolate cake, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Do share photos on social media too and use the hashtag #tinandthyme, so I can spot them.
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Willie’s Cloud Forest Chocolate Cake – The Recipe
Willie's Cloud Forest Chocolate Cake
- 160 g 100% dark chocolate (I used Willie's Cacao, Venezuelan Black)
- 200 g unsalted butter
- 1 goose egg or 3 large hens eggs
- 40 g light muscovado
- 120 g golden caster sugar (I use vanilla sugar)
- 75 g ground almonds
- Finely grate 10g off the chocolate block to cover the top of the cake with later.
- Melt the remaining 150g in a saucepan over a low heat along with the butter. Leave to cool a little.
- Whisk the egg with the sugars until thick and doubled in volume. Electric beaters are best for this as it takes at least five minutes of hard whisking.
- Pour the chocolate down the side of the bowl so as not to knock the air out of the egg mixture then proceed to fold in as gently as possible.
- Fold in the ground almonds.
- Pour into a 22cm silicone cake mould or lined tin and bake in a preheated oven at 170℃ (325℉, Gas 3) for 30 minutes. The cake should be well risen and a skewer inserted into the middle should come out clean.
- Leave to cool, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool further.
- Place onto a cake stand and scatter the grated cocoa over the top.