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More Nigella recipes

Chocolate Cloud Cake

by . Featured in NIGELLA BITES
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Introduction

On days when I want the warmth of the hearth rather than the hurly burly of the city streets I stay in and read cookery books, and this recipe comes from just the sort of book that gives most succour, Classic Home Desserts by Richard Sax.

The cake itself is as richly and rewardingly sustaining: a melting, dark, flourless, chocolate base, the sort that sinks damply on cooling; the fallen centre then cloudily filled with softly whipped cream and sprinkled with cocoa powder.

As Richard Sax says, "intensity, then relief, in each bite".

On days when I want the warmth of the hearth rather than the hurly burly of the city streets I stay in and read cookery books, and this recipe comes from just the sort of book that gives most succour, Classic Home Desserts by Richard Sax.

The cake itself is as richly and rewardingly sustaining: a melting, dark, flourless, chocolate base, the sort that sinks damply on cooling; the fallen centre then cloudily filled with softly whipped cream and sprinkled with cocoa powder.

As Richard Sax says, "intensity, then relief, in each bite".

Chocolate Cloud Cake
Photo by Francesca Yorke

Ingredients

Serves: 8-12

Metric Cups

For the Cake

  • 250 grams dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids)
  • 125 grams unsalted butter (softened)
  • 6 large eggs (2 whole, 4 separated)
  • 175 grams caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cointreau (optional)
  • grated zest of 1 orange (optional)

For the Cream Topping

  • 500 millilitres double cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon cointreau (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder (for sprinkling)

For the Cake

  • 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids)
  • 9 tablespoons unsalted butter (softened)
  • 6 large eggs (2 whole, 4 separated)
  • ¾ cup superfine sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cointreau (optional)
  • grated zest of 1 orange (optional)

For the Cream Topping

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon cointreau (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder (for sprinkling)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4/350ºF.
  2. Line the bottom of a 23cm / 9 inch springform cake tin with baking parchment.
  3. Melt the chocolate either in a double boiler or a microwave, and then let the butter melt in the warm chocolate.
  4. Beat the 2 whole eggs and 4 egg yolks with 75g / ¼ cup of the caster sugar, then gently add the chocolate mixture, the Cointreau and orange zest.
  5. In another bowl, whisk the 4 egg whites until foamy, then gradually add the 100g / ½ cup of sugar and whisk until the whites are holding their shape but not too stiff.
  6. Lighten the chocolate mixture with a dollop of egg whites, and then fold in the rest of the whites. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the cake is risen and cracked and the centre is no longer wobbly. Cool the cake in its tin on a wire rack; the middle will sink as it cools.
  7. When you are ready to eat, place the still tin-bound cake on a cake stand or plate for serving and carefully remove the cake from its tin. Don't worry about cracks or rough edges: it's the crater look we're going for here. Whip the cream until it's soft and then add the vanilla and Cointreau and continue whisking until the cream is firm but not stiff.
  8. Fill the crater of the cake with the whipped cream, easing it out gently towards the edges of the cake, and dust the top lightly with cocoa powder pushed through a tea-strainer.
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4/350ºF.
  2. Line the bottom of a 23cm / 9 inch springform cake tin with baking parchment.
  3. Melt the chocolate either in a double boiler or a microwave, and then let the butter melt in the warm chocolate.
  4. Beat the 2 whole eggs and 4 egg yolks with 75g / ¼ cup of the superfine sugar, then gently add the chocolate mixture, the Cointreau and orange zest.
  5. In another bowl, whisk the 4 egg whites until foamy, then gradually add the 100g / ½ cup of sugar and whisk until the whites are holding their shape but not too stiff.
  6. Lighten the chocolate mixture with a dollop of egg whites, and then fold in the rest of the whites. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the cake is risen and cracked and the centre is no longer wobbly. Cool the cake in its tin on a wire rack; the middle will sink as it cools.
  7. When you are ready to eat, place the still tin-bound cake on a cake stand or plate for serving and carefully remove the cake from its tin. Don't worry about cracks or rough edges: it's the crater look we're going for here. Whip the cream until it's soft and then add the vanilla and Cointreau and continue whisking until the cream is firm but not stiff.
  8. Fill the crater of the cake with the whipped cream, easing it out gently towards the edges of the cake, and dust the top lightly with cocoa powder pushed through a tea-strainer.

Tell us what you think

What 15 Others have said

  • So I've made this twice and the 2nd time I burnt it (fan over - forgot) but it was salvageable. So I chopped it up like brownies and served with hot chocolate sauce, choc buttons and cream. It has now been declared the best pudding in the world and get's asked for at every possible occasion.

    Posted by Tinder on 22nd January 2016
  • Hi, does anyone know if the base of this cake can be made one day in advance? Thanks :-)

    Posted by Cat32 on 16th January 2013
  • hi i am an avid viewer of your shows and cherish every moment of watching you on TV. i would like to know what is the best replacement for eggs in cakes and deserts in general. it will be really nice if you'll help. looking forward to hearing from you.

    Posted by bhavnamehrotra on 26th December 2011
  • I was really impressed with how this turned out. I did this without the Cointreau but will add this next time when I bake it for my Grans Birthday! :-)

    Posted by Wild Cat 2015 on 15th April 2015
  • This cake is divine. Light and delicious. I follow the recipe exactly and it comes out perfect every time. In fact, my birthday is next month and I'm going to make it for myself and my friends.

    Posted by Healthgal on 9th August 2014
  • I've just tried this recipe, it is awesome, I love all the flourless cake idea and its works! But I might say I tried a sugar substitute, and it did not taste well, so add your sugar, cause cakes without sugar are awful. Thanks for the recipe Nigella!

    Posted by Majui on 5th July 2014
  • I LOVE this cake. I have tailored it a bit to suit my preferences. No orange or Cointreau, but: grated lime zest in the batter; plus the zest of one lime on top of the dusting of cocoa powder. Then I like to dot the top with raspberries. Chocolate, raspberry, and lime- sublime.

    Posted by julip on 2nd July 2014
  • I make this cake every year at Christmas. It goes down a treat... Thanks Nigella :)

    Posted by Cjsweet88 on 5th October 2013
  • Wow, I have to say I think this is the best cake I've ever made. I used Kahlua in place of the orange zest/Cointreau and plain whipped cream on top. It was rich and somewhat dense but still had a fluffiness to it - the perfect texture. I will definitely be making this again! Thanks, Nigella!

    Posted by anielsen68 on 14th August 2013
  • This cake is absolutely delish! A real cloud cake that feels so light and melting when in your mouth, full of flavor. OMG what a winner!!

    Posted by joa112 on 5th August 2013
  • I love this cake, as does everyone who has eaten it here! It's easy to make and it seems it just cannot go wrong! I now get requests from friends/family to please make it when they come over for dinner!;-) One little remark though: I don't think it would be big enough for 12 people, we have been able to finish it with only 6...;-)

    Posted by sigver on 21st November 2012
  • Amazing cake, it came out perfect and very tasty. Everyone loved it and very easy to make. What will be my next excuse to bake it again !!!

    Posted by PatriciaP on 8th October 2012
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