Chocolate Cloud Cake (GF)

Flourless chocolate cake seems like the most obvious choice of desserts for the gluten intolerant. Unlike many subpar gluten-free alternatives to their glutinous originals (often bland and crumbly from too much rice flour and too little imagination), flourless chocolate cake is an objectively delicious dessert that just so conveniently happens to be lacking in wheat. It is not a by-product of the latest health craze, but has stood among the ranks of the best flour-filled cakes for decades. It is not flourless for the sake of the latest fad in digestive discrimination, but rather because egg yolks, butter, and chocolate are a match made in culinary heaven.
My one qualm with flourless chocolate cake is that it is often very heavy, and therefore unappealing at the end of a meal, which is when desserts most commonly make their appearance. It has always seemed a shame that flourless chocolate cake is only served at that very moment at which it is least desired. This cake, however, is a solution to the typical flourless chocolate cake paradox. Rich and buttery, yet somehow subtle and light, Not Without Butter's "Chocolate Cloud Cake" puts the typical dense slab of flourless cake to shame.
While the original recipe says to make one large cake, I chose to bake mine in individual ramekins. I also halved the recipe. A dollop of airy whipped cream and garnish of tangy orange slices brought these little desserts to the next level, and they were the perfect end to a delicious summer meal.
Chocolate Cloud Cake (GF)
Makes 6 ramekins
     4 oz good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used Ghiradelli chips)
     1/4 cup butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
     1 egg
     2 eggs, separated
     1/2 cup sugar, divided into two quarter cups
     1 tbsp Cointreau 
     Zest of one half of an orange
     1 cup heavy whipping cream
     1 tbsp sugar
     1/2 tsp vanilla extract
     Unsweetened cocoa powder for garnish (optional)
     Orange slices for garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350˚F and grease 6 small oven-safe ramekins. In a double boiler or microwave at low power, melt the chocolate. If you are melting it in the microwave, take the chocolate out every minute and give it a stir. Whisk in the butter.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the two egg yolks and the whole egg, as well as 1/4 cup of sugar. Whisk the warm chocolate into the egg mixture and add the Cointreau and orange zest.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they are frothy. Slowly add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until soft white peaks form. 
Fold the egg whites into the chocolate in two or three installments.
Divide the batter amongst the six ramekins and bake until the top of the cakes is puffed and cracked and the inside doesn't jiggle anymore, about 20-25 minutes. 
As the cakes cool, they will sink slightly. When they have cooled, you can either eat them straight from the ramekins or unmold them. If you choose to unmold them, run a sharp knife around the edge of each cake. Then using a small palette knife, ease each cake out onto the center of a plate. This is slightly tricky as you want the side of the cake facing upward in the ramekin to remain on top, so you can't simply flip the cake out onto the plate as you might do ordinarily. 
When you are ready to serve, whip the cream, sugar, and vanilla. Place a dollop of whipped cream in the center of each cake. Dust with cocoa powder and garnish with orange slices if desired. Enjoy! 


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