For the first 46 years of my life I woke up every morning with a stuffy nose. Before going to sleep at night I would clear my throat repeatedly, so much so that anyone who slept near me would get incredibly annoyed – and I wasn’t even conscious of it, it had become so second nature. As I got older, I also noticed that my once acute sense of smell was failing, thanks to my perpetually clogged sinuses.
Then, last year, I embarked on a 6 week cleanse which involved gradually eliminating the most taxing foods our intestines and liver have to process: meat, sugar, dairy, coffee, soy and…wheat. Lo and behold, a few days after eliminating wheat (and yeast) from my system, I woke up breathing more freely. In a matter of weeks, my sense of smell had returned to its normal sniffy self. I had been allergic to wheat all my life and had no clue.
Not that I would have given up pasta or bread or pizza had I known but now that I am aware I limit my wheat intake and live a much happier life (and no more throat clearing either). The following recipe is a for a wonderful flourless chocolate cake. I tried many variations – even my mother has one – but I keep going back to this one because it’s moist and fluffy as it can be without any flour or leavening agent. Its chocolate richness is velvety and the darker the chocolate the more adult the cake. Serve it with whipped cream and/or sour cherries.
TORTA DI CIOCCOLATA
10 oz Bittersweet Chocolate (Valrhona Equatorial is a great one)
10 oz Unsalted Butter
1/4 C Cocoa Powder (unsweetened – Dutch processed)
2 C Sugar
1 oz Bourbon or Brandy
- Pre-heat oven to 300F
- Combine chocolate and butter in a metal bowl over a bain marie and heat until 80% melted. Whisk gently until smooth and set aside.
- In a standing mixer (it can be done by hand), using the whisk attachment, break up the eggs. Add sugar and cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Stir in liquor.
- Add chocolate and butter mixture and whisk to incorporate. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl.
- Increase the mixer speed and whisk until batter nearly doubles in volume and has a lighter colour – about 5 or 6 minutes.
- Pour batter in 10” cake pan with a removable bottom, previously sprayed or buttered (if available, line with a parchment disk).
- Bake until the center is set, about 40 minutes to 1 hour (depending on oven). A skewer poking the center should come out moist and with a few crumbs.
- Let cool. Cake will deflate a bit. Run a wet knife around the edge of the cake before sliding it onto a platter. Dust with powder sugar.