A heart of darkness

When I saw the February Daring Baker’s challenge was to make a Chocolate Valentino cake using a recipe by Chef Wan, I was stoked since my mother’s birthday is on Valentine’s Day! What perfect luck to have a heart shaped cake as our challenge when I needed to bake something special on that day anyhow!

I used Amadei’s Tuscano 66% cocoa chocolate to make my cake and I paired it with a simple but super rich caramel sauce (see recipe below). Since one of the reasons this recipe was chosen as a DB challenge was that it used just three simple ingredients, I thought making a sauce using just three ingredients (water, sugar and cream) was the perfect accompaniment. And besides, chocolate and caramel are a match made in heaven, right?

Now, I don’t like to be a naysayer (actually, that’s not true, I do sort of like to whine and complain, just not right this second), but I have to say that I didn’t like this recipe and I won’t make it again. I made flourless chocolate cake literally hundreds of times as an apprentice to the now late (and much missed) pastry chef Andrew MacIssac. His recipe calls for 8 eggs and some sugar that is used to make a sabayon with egg yolks before they are added to the melted chocolate. The result is a cake that is simultaneously fudgier and lighter than the cake recipe we used for this month’s challenge. (If you’d like Andrew’s recipe, drop me a line and I’ll dig it out of my back up drive and send it to you).

That said, although I didn’t fall in love with this Valentine’s Day cake, I do want to thank the hosts for doing a great job! The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE’s blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef.

Dana’s Easy Caramel Sauce

11/2 cups (375 mL) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (125 mL) water
3/4 cup (175 mL) 35% whipping cream

Combine the sugar and water in a heavy saucepan set over high heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Boil sugar, brushing down sides of pan with a pastry brush dipped into water to dissolve any crystals that start to form, until the mixture is the colour of amber. Remove from heat.

Shield your hands with oven mitts or clean dish towels and whisk in the cream until the mixture quits boiling. Makes about 11/2 cups (375 mL) caramel sauce.

Tip: Add a gourmet touch by sprinkling large flake sea salt over the sauce once it has been poured over the cake.


35 Responses to A heart of darkness

  1. lisamichele says:

    I didh’t fall in love with the cake when I made it with dark chocolate, but I don’t like dark chocolate..lol However, I really liked it with white chocolate. Your Valentino came out lovely, and I’d love to try Andrew’s recipe. I also heard Clothilde from Chocolate $ Zucchihi has a good one 🙂

  2. Courtney says:

    The cake covered with carmel sauce and flaked sea salt is a wonderful touch. Mine didnt turn out as fudgy as I was expecting either.

  3. It looks delicious and the timing was perfect for you with your mother and Valentines Day 😀 Sorry to hear that you didn’t like it though. I’d love to have a copy of your/Andrew’s recipe, it sounds delicious! 🙂

  4. Your cake looks lovely. I hope your Mum enjoyed it. Your own recipe sounds good. Lovely pic too 🙂

  5. Rosa says:

    Very well done! A beautifully shaped cake!



  6. Marija says:

    Actually, I loved this recipe. But this was my first time with flourless chocolate cake. If you say you like Andrew’s better, I can only imagine how good it is! I’d really love to try it.

  7. Natashya says:

    Looks great! This was my first flourless chocolate cake. I love the sound of your caramel sauce with the flaked sea salt, mmmmmm…

  8. Jude says:

    Sorry to hear that you didn’t like this recipe. I’m very interested in the recipe your mentioned.

  9. deeba says:

    Happy belated birthday to your Mom Dana. Sorry it wasn’t as good as it should have been, but you did a great job!

  10. shellyfish says:

    What a great way to celebrate your mum’s birthday!

  11. danamccauley says:

    It was a great way to celebrate my mom’s birthday! I think she found it fun to be part of the Daring Bakers in an a la distance sort of a way!

    i’ll dig out Andrew’s recipe this week and post it next weekend for those of you who are interested.

    : )

  12. It looks great, Dana. I’m sorry that you didn’t like it either, but hey… at least we tried!

  13. Elra says:

    Hey, I must say that the cake in the challenge was heavy, not melt in your mouth type of cake, that is why we need to pair it with ice cream, because when you eat the cake by itself, for sure you need some water or milk to help the cake to gown down your throat smoothly (I can’t find the right word for it). So, I can understand why you don’t like it. Me? I’m okay with it too, I like my version better, it’s smoother, so it’s easier to swallow.
    Have a wonderful week end dear!

  14. danamccauley says:

    Thanks Elra – I hope you have a great weekend, too!

  15. This was not my favorite as mine came out dry. I wonder if more eggs might not be better in it. Hope it was a happy birthday!

  16. megan says:

    I’m always interested in a better recipe! I heard a few people say the same thing. That they had made a recipe they liked better. This was my first flourless cake so I have nothing to compare it to, but I liked it. 🙂

  17. Lesley says:

    Wow, we really DID have the same reaction to this cake! And I too hate to be a naysayer, but I guess that’s what the DB challenges are all about, comparing notes and results. I’d love to see your other recipe. For others, if you’ve never made another FCC recipe, you should try because there are some very good ones out there.

    By the way your blog is beautiful.

  18. marye says:

    it looks great. I love the idea of the caramel.

  19. giz says:

    I suspect your mom was more than delighted to receive this cake for her birthday. I love the intense chocolate of this recipe with only a few ingredients.

  20. What a lovely cake you have made. I really like the title “heart of darkness”. Even if it wasn’t the best for you it was well liked by a lot of people.

  21. Mike says:

    Just passing by.Btw, your website have great content!

  22. Meeta says:

    dana what a great idea serving this with caramel. simply lovely!

  23. danamccauley says:

    Audfax Artifex – I’m glad a lot of people like the cake, too! That’s what makes food and cookin so great — everyone can make things to suit their own taste!

    Glad you like my title – can you tell I was an English major in university?

  24. Bumblebutton says:

    Well, at least you could lick the caramel sauce, while contemplating the evil, non fudgy chocolate cake. Sorry this wasn’t up your alley!

  25. Fran Z says:

    Oh- meme- I’d love to try Andrew’s recipe- I’m all for fudgier!

  26. Tammy says:

    I’m with you – I didnt love this cake as much as I thought I was going to either. It was just too chocolatey and not fudgey enough

  27. Hélène says:

    This would be hard to resist for a chocolatic like me.

  28. Stunning job! I love the idea of the caramel sauce too. Sorry you didn’t much like the cake.

  29. Dharm says:

    Sorry you didnt like this recipe Dana but thanks for your honesty and thanks for joining us on this challenge! Your cake turned out really nice and I have to say that you are certainly one of my fave DBs…!!

  30. danamccauley says:

    Wow – Dharm – I’m taken aback! Thanks for your kind words and for being such a gracious DB host!

    Btw, I do plan to make your ice cream recipe when time permits.

  31. Y says:

    Happy belated Birthday to your mom! I actually really liked this particular recipe, but am now interested in trying the recipe you mentioned as wel! If you manage to find a copy of it, I’d love to give it a go!

  32. You have such a big heart ;)! Of course chocolate and caramel are a match made in heaven!

  33. […] Flourless Chocolate Torte Here’s the recipe I talked about last Saturday in my Daring Baker’s post. It was a signature dessert at Pronto Ristorante in Toronto in the late 80’s and early […]

  34. Jenny says:

    Hi, a fellow DB here from the blogroll. Sorry to hear you didn’t like the cake. That caramel sauce sounds so good, will definitely try it with the sea salt, because caramel + a bit of salt = yum!

  35. danamccauley says:

    Hi Jenny,

    Thanks for popping over! If you’re interested in my friend Andrew’s recipe, I’ve posted it here: https://danamccauley.wordpress.com/2009/03/07/andrew-macissacs-flourless-chocolate-torte/

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