Gluten-free Chocolate Bourbon Cake

Gluten-free Chocolate Bourbon Cake

Since my early baking days, even before I ventured into the gluten-free world, I loved Dorie Greenspan. She is able to mix great skills, curiosity for the culinary world, flavors and simplicity with graciousness. I own one of her books, Baking from my home to yours, and during the years I have checked out many more from the library.

Among her recipes I have always been interested in her Chocolate Armagnac Cake. The story behind it reminds me of my brief experience in a local restaurant, as a baker. When you are working in a kitchen, hierarchy is very important and its respect implicit. Creativity is left to your chef.

Dorie Greenspan was the apprentice pastry chef at one of the trendiest restaurants in New York City at the time. She was bored making the same two desserts over and over every day so she tweaked this cake slightly and sent it out for service. “I was fired .. for ‘creative insubordination’ — how could I have known how angry everyone would be when, without mentioning it, I did away with the rum-soaked raisins in the chocolate cake and replaced them with Armagnac-soaked prunes!”

As a tribute to Dorie Greenspan, I decided to make the gluten-free version of this cake. I had leftover prunes from our delicious stovetop tzimmes from Rosh Hashanah, and I still had some bourbon from the Crabapple Bundt Cake. So I switched Armagnac with Bourbon, and I made this delicious version as a symbol creative assertiveness.

ENJOY!

Gluten-free Chocolate Bourbon Cake

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Recipe by Simona Gluten-free Course: DessertDifficulty: Medium
Prep time

1

hour 
Cooking time

30

minutes

Ingredients

  • For the cake
  • 90 g finely ground pecans – 2/3 cup

  • 40 g Simona’s Flour Mix – 1/4 cup

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 12 pitted prunes, cut into bits

  • 60 g Bourbon*, or Armagnac – 1/4 cup

  • 200 g bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped – 7 oz

  • 113 g unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces – 1 stick

  • 3 Tablespoons water

  • 3 large eggs, separated

  • 160 g granulated sugar – 2/3 cup

  • For the glaze
  • 85 g bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped – 3 oz

  • 3 Tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

  • 42 g unsalted butter, at room temperature – 3 Tablespoons

Directions

  • Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 F. Butter an 8-inch springform pan, fit the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment or wax paper and grease the paper. Put the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.
  • For the cake
  • Whisk together the nuts, flour and salt.
  • Put the prunes and 1/4 cup of water (60 g) in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook, being careful not to scorch the fruit, until the water almost evaporates.
  • Pull the pan from the heat and pour in the Bourbon, stand back and set it aflame. When the flames die out, transfer the fruit and any remaining liquid to a bowl and let cool. (If it’s more convenient, you can flame and steep the prunes up to 1 day ahead. Pack the prunes and their liquid into a covered jar and keep at room temperature.)
  • Combine the chocolate, butter and 3 tablespoons water in a heatproof bowl, set it over a pan of simmering water over low heat and stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter are melted; or do this in a microwave oven. Remove the chocolate from the heat just as soon as it is melted and not very hot—you don’t want the chocolate and butter to separate.
  • In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until thick and pale, about 2 minutes. Switch to a rubber spatula and, one by one, stir in the chocolate and butter mixture, the nut mixture, and the prunes with any liquid.
  • Working with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the egg whites until they hold firm, glossy peaks. Stir about one quarter of the beaten whites into the chocolate mixture, then gently fold in the remaining whites. Turn the batter into the pan.
  • Bake the cake for 28 to 32 minutes, or until it is puffed, firm on top and starting to come ever so slightly away from the sides of the pan; a thin knife inserted into the center will come out streaky — the cake should not be wet, but you don’t want it to be completely dry.
  • Transfer the cake to a rack and let it cool for about 10 minutes, then carefully remove the sides of the pan. Invert the cake, pull off the paper and turn right side up to cool to room temperature. The cake should be absolutely cool before you glaze it.
  • For the glaze
  • Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, or in a microwave oven. Remove it from the heat and, using a small spatula, stir in the sugar, then the butter, a bit at a time, stirring until you have a smooth glaze.
  • To finish the cake
  • If the cake has crowned, use a long serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion to even the top. Turn the cake over onto a cooling rack— you want the very flat bottom of the cake to be the top. Put a piece of wax paper or foil under a cooling rack to serve as a drip catcher.
  • Have a long metal icing spatula at hand. Pour the glaze over the top of the cake, allowing the excess to run down the sides, and use the spatula to smooth the top of the cake if necessary — usually the glaze is a self-spreader — and to even it around the sides of the cake. Let the glaze set at room temperature or, if you want to speed it up, slide the cake into the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.

Notes

  • This cake can be kept at room temperature for a day or wrapped well and refrigerated for up to 3 days; bring it to room temperature before serving.
  • *Pure, distilled bourbon, even if made with wheat, barley, or rye added to the “mash” is considered gluten-free. Most bourbons are safe for people with celiac disease because of the distillation process. However, be on the lookout for hidden gluten in bourbons that add flavorings or other additives after distillation. There is also a risk for gluten cross-contamination in facilities that process products containing wheat, barley, or rye. 

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