Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Flourless chocolate, buttermilk and raspberry cake

A week or so ago a friend of mine had a birthday. Here in Sydney, as in so many places around the world at the moment, anything but essential travel is banned so though it was possible for me to make him a cake, it wasn't possible for me to deliver it personally, even though he was just across the bridge. In any case, there suddenly wasn't any flour to be found seemingly in all of Australia so cake too seemed impossible. But then, in an effort to distract myself from the news, I strayed across this recipe for a chocolate, buttermilk and raspberry cake. Miraculously it was flourless. And all the ingredients were store cupboard staples, or could be crafted from them with a bit of ingenuity. The recipe was from (the ironically-named, given my dilemma)  Flour and Stone, a beautiful bakery in Woolloomooloo. Buoyed by this discovery, I made the cake and booked a courier... because if you have to be alone on your birthday in the apocalypse then there should at least be something sweet and celebratory you can stick a candle on. It turned out beautifully - luxuriously dark and fudgey, studded with soft, sour-sweet berries, the prettiest pops of red. It arrived a day late and smashed to smithereens, but I'm told still tasted good, and I guess was an even bigger surprise for all that. Best laid plans... If this interlude has taught us anything it's to throw them out the window... and adapt! See recipe head notes for useful hacks on the other key ingredients, should you need them.

Flourless chocolate, buttermilk and raspberry cake
Adapted from a recipe by Nadine Ingram of Flour and Stone

If you don't have buttermilk, you can easily make your own by stirring a little lemon juice or white vinegar into milk and leaving it sit for a few minutes til it curdles. If you don't have brown sugar, just mix one tablespoon molasses (available at supermarkets, health food stores, delis) into a cup of white sugar. If you don't have almond meal, just blitz almonds (or walnuts or blanched hazelnuts) til finely ground in a food processor. If you don't have raspberries, don't worry - just bake the cake without for one hour all up.

220g dark chocolate, ideally 70% cocoa solids
110g roughly chopped unsalted butter
4 eggs
90g light brown sugar
60g almond meal
60ml buttermilk
180g frozen raspberries

Preheat the oven to 140 deg C. Line a 22cm springform cake tin with baking paper and dust with flour (assuming you have a little for these purposes - if not, just ensure you line sides of tin with baking paper too).

Melt butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, taking care that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water and that the water is not boiling furiously - you don't want the chocolate to burn.

Meanwhile, whisk the eggs and sugar together until thick and fluffy - this is called a sabayon. If you've got a stand mixer, this will take a good five minutes. If you've only got a whisk it will take... patience and a firm wrist.

Add the chocolate mixture to the sabayon, then the almond meal and buttermilk. Gently mix together - either with the mixer on its lowest speed, or just by folding with a spatula or wooden spoon. Once all the streaks have disappeared from the mixture, stop. It's important to not overwork the batter. With a spatula or spoon, check no chocolate has fallen to the bottom of the bowl. If it has, gently fold it in to incorporate it.

Pour batter into the prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes or until the top of the cake has formed a crust. Remove from oven briefly and scatter over raspberries, gently pushing them down into the surface of the cake. Don't be tempted to do this before baking as they'll just fall to the bottom and you won't get the same pretty effect on top. Return cake to the oven and bake a further 30-40 minutes or until the centre is springy to the touch. If it looks like the raspberries are burning, just cover the tin with foil and keep cooking - it's a hard cake to overbake. Because there's no flour - the inside will always be deliciously gooey.

Let sit in tin for at least 2 hours before you remove it. The original recipe recommends heating the blade of a knife in hot water, then wiping it dry before cutting in order to get a clean slice.


  1. This looks scrumptious Alice - and I will definitely be giving it a try (especially given the aforementioned Australia-wide flour shortage). Hope you got a credit on your courier bill too - late and smashed is a bit disappointing :(

  2. Fantastic! Definitely a good one to add to the rotation right now!

  3. What a lovely gesture! I have a similar recipe that uses butter where you've used buttermilk. I used to make it for friends' birthdays too, I think it makes a great birthday cake.