My husband takes good care of me!
As many of you know, he makes me a special dessert for my birthday each year. Each year I get to choose whatever dessert I want and he’ll make it. Some years are more work than others! This year’s cake took a couple of days to make. Take a look at the bottom of the post to see some of the past years’ desserts.
He says he likes to do this for me because I take care of him all year ’round. So, this is his way of taking care of me, making an extravagant dessert for my birthday to show me how much he loves me. He’s so sweet, and I love him so much! But, before I get all gushy and give you all cavities… well, maybe I’ll just give you a cake to let you munch on instead of gushing about my awesome husband. But, I love him!
Back to the cake… Soft cakes, flourless cakes. In fact, it just now occurred to me that this is a gluten-free dessert. Almost hard to believe because it’s so rich and moist. They’re like meringues. And, they hold all the filling in. Frozen filling that’s actually a mousse rather than an ice cream. Which, to me, just means that it’s dense and rich and not too sweet. And then it’s all topped with a rich creamy ganache. And, when you garnish it with the coffee beans, they give a little extra coffee-ness and crunch. (Every time we eat it we’re amazed that you can just eat the coffee beans straight, but they’re delish!)
- 4 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 2 tablespoons water
- 3 eggs, separated
- ¼ cup sugar
- 5 large egg yolks
- ½ cup sugar, divided use
- ¼ cups Kahlúa or other coffee liqueur
- 1 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
- 2 ½ teaspoon instant espresso powder
- 3 egg whites
- ½ cup finely chopped bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate
- ½ cup whipping cream
- ¼ cup Kahlúa or other coffee liqueur
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
- 6 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 2 tablespoons whole coffee beans
- Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375° F.
- Lightly butter two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 ½-inch-high sides. Line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Combine chocolate and water in top of double boiler set over simmering water. Stir until chocolate is smooth. Remove from over water. Transfer chocolate to large bowl; cool 5 minutes. Whisk egg yolks into chocolate.
- Beat whites in medium bowl until soft peaks form. Add sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff and glossy. Fold ¼ of egg whites into chocolate to lighten. Gently fold remaining egg whites into chocolate mixture in 2 additions, just until combined, being careful not to deflate batter.
- Divide batter between prepared pans (layers will be very thin). Bake until cakes begin to pull away from sides of pans and wooden cake tester or toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 10 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on wire rack for 1 hour.
- Once cooled, carefully invert cakes onto 9-inch-diameter cardboard rounds or tart pan bottoms. Cool cakes completely. Peel off parchment paper.
- While waiting for the cakes to cool, line 9-inch-diameter cake pan with 1 ½-inch-high sides (we reused one that we previously baked in) with plastic wrap, leaving 5-inch overhang. Set aside.
- Whisk egg yolks, ¼ cup of the sugar, and Kahlúa in medium metal bowl to blend. Set bowl over saucepan of simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water). Using hand-held electric mixer, beat until yolk mixture is thick and instant-read thermometer inserted into mixture registers 140°F for 3 minutes, about 9 minutes total. Remove bowl from over water. Continue to beat mixture until cool to touch, about 3 minutes.
- Beat whipping cream and espresso powder in another medium bowl until firm peaks form. Fold cream mixture into yolk mixture in 2 additions.
- Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites in large bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining ¼ cup sugar and beat until stiff and glossy. Gently fold egg white mixture into yolk mixture in 2 additions. Fold in chopped chocolate.
- Carefully place one completely cooled cake layer in the bottom of the prepared pan (cake layer is very delicate).
- Spread the filling evenly over first cake layer (filling layer will be thick). Top with second cake layer; press gently to adhere. Fold plastic overhang over cake, then cover with foil. Freeze cake overnight. DO AHEAD Can be made 3 days ahead. Keep frozen.
- Invert cake onto 9-inch-diameter cardboard round or tart pan bottom; place on rack set over rimmed baking sheet. Set aside.
- Bring cream, Kahlúa, and corn syrup to a simmer in small saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chocolate; whisk until smooth. Transfer ½ cup glaze to small bowl; chill until cool and very slightly thickened but easily spreadable (if too thick, glaze will not spread smoothly on frozen cake), about 10 minutes
- Meanwhile while you wait for the glaze to cool, remove foil and plastic wrap from top of cake. Working quickly, spread thin layer of chilled glaze over top and sides of cake. Freeze until glaze is set, about 1 hour.
- Rewarm remaining glaze over low heat until just warm and pourable. Transfer to ½-cup measuring cup. Pour this ½-cup of glaze over top of cake. Using an offset spatula, quickly spread the glaze over top, allowing excess to run down sides of cake; smooth over sides (glaze will harden quickly on frozen cake). Pour remaining glaze over top of cake; spread quickly and smoothly over top and sides. Sprinkle coffee beans around top edge of cake. Freeze until firm and glaze is set, at least 4 hours. DO AHEAD Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover; keep frozen.
- See below for detailed photos