Better Than Flourless Chocolate Cake: Steamed Chocolate "Pudding" Cake
Flourless chocolate cake is dense, dark, rich, and moist--a chocolate lover's dream--but I think I've hit on something even better. It's a steamed chocolate cake--what the British sometimes refer to as a "pudding." In this case the cake is steamed for about 30 minutes in a Dutch oven on top of the stove. The cake is inexpensive to make, far lower in saturated fat than a flourless chocolate version, and is dense, dark, rich, and moist without being cloyingly sweet. The cake does include flour, but, if you need to go gluten-free, you could opt for gluten-free flour. Chocolate-mint liqueur (see a previous blog posting for how to make it yourself to save money) in the cake and glaze enhances the depth of the chocolate taste and makes this an especially impressive dessert. Coffee liqueur works quite well, too. The cake's appearance isn't fancy--it looks like a molten chocolate lava field--but you and your guests won't mind. You'll be too busy forking in warm mouthfuls of chocolate decadence.
Steamed Chocolate "Pudding" Cake -- Serves 6+
1 cup of flour
1/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of dark brown sugar
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup of light sour cream (or plain yogurt)
1/3 cup of canola oil
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 tablespoons of chocolate-mint liqueur (or just use coffee liqueur)
Place an aluminum pie tin in the bottom of a large Dutch oven and add enough water to reach most of the way up the pie tin (about 3/4 of the way up). Coat a 9-inch round cake pan with high sides with non-stick cooking spray and line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, spraying the parchment with cooking spray, too. If your cake pan doesn't have high sides, line a 9-inch round spring-form pan with aluminum foil and spray the foil well with cooking spray. Put the prepared pan on top of the pie tin, making sure that it sits evenly on the tin. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk the brown sugar and eggs together well. Whisk in the water, sour cream, oil, vanilla, and liqueur until well blended. Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture, whisking just until everything is barely combined. Carefully pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing it out evenly. Cover the Dutch oven and turn the heat on to high until the water in the Dutch oven boils. Reduce the heat to medium-low to low (the water should drop to a simmer) and steam the pudding cake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with no wet batter on it. Turn off the heat, remove the lid from the Dutch oven carefully (the steam is hot, so stand away from the pot!), and let the pudding cake sit in the Dutch oven until the pan has cooled enough for you to remove it. Let the cake continue to cool for about 20 minutes, run a knife around the edges, flip it onto a plate, and then invert the cake onto another plate, so the top is right side up. Or, if you used a spring-form pan, just remove the ring and side foil, and place the cake on a serving plate. Pour the glaze over the still warm cake and let it soak in. Serve the cake warm with whipped cream or ice cream on the side. The cake also is great served at room temperature and keeps for days if it doesn't get eaten before then.
1 tablespoon of butter
1 cup of confectioner's sugar
3 tablespoons of chocolate-mint liqueur
In a microwave safe cup or bowl melt the butter. Add the confectioners sugar and liqueur and beat the mixture well. Microwave the mixture 2-3 times in 15 second increments, beating the mixture with a spoon after each session in the microwave. The mixture should thicken but remain pourable. The consistency should be that of a thick syrup (like Karo).