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Chocolate Cake and Endless Possibilities

February has flown by and it's time again for another Daring Bakers challenge. This time, we were asked to make a chocolate Valentino, which is essentially a flourless chocolate cake. Dense, fudgy and super moist flourless chocolate cake. We were given free range on this one except for one rule, we had to make an ice cream to go with it.

How could I settle on one dessert when the possibilities are endless?

I actually made the recipe twice because I really wanted to see what the batter would do while baking, how it would hold its shape and how much it would rise and deflate. I always think of the characteristics and structure of a recipe before I decide on how to bake it or plate it. I decided a sheet cake would be best and would allow me to build cakes or any other dessert best.

My ice cream of choice was pecan craquelin and vanilla bean ice cream. This cake is so moist, almost brownie-like, that I thought ice cream sandwiches would be perfect. I spread the softened ice cream on a frozen sheetpan, let it get hard again and cut it with the same square cookie cutters that I used to cut the cake.

I also baked some of the first batch of cake batter in some ramekins for a little souffle-type action.

I used the rest of the cake to build petits gateaux with layers of cardamom. I wrapped them in strips of tempered dark chocolate and made some tempered chocolate swirls.

Finally, thank you to this month's hosts Wendy and Dharm and the words that I am required to mention for this challenge...

Chocolate Valentino
adapted from Sweet Treats by Chef Wan

16 ounces (1 pound) (454 grams) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams total) of unsalted butter
5 large eggs separated

Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.

While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.

Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.
Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).

With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.

Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.

Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter. {link of folding demonstration}

Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F/190C

Bake for 25 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 140F/60C.
Note – If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet.

Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.