Flourless Macadamia Nut–Chocolate Cake
This dense cake can be baked a day ahead and finished on the day you plan to serve it. The chocolate, coffee, and macadamia nuts bring the Big Island to mind.
- Bittersweet Chocolate - 5 oz, chopped
- Macadamia nuts - 1 cup
- Sugar - 3/4 cup
- Eggs - 8, separated
- Unsalted Butter - 1 cup, at room temperature
- Salt - Pinch
- Coating and Garnish
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 1-1/2 cups
- Bittersweet Chocolate - 4 oz, chopped
- Macadamia nuts - 2/3 cup (3 oz), chopped and toasted
- Coffee Extract - 1 tablespoon
- Kahlua - 1 tablespoon (alt. other coffee-flavored liqueur)
- Strawberries - 8 fresh, hulled
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Place a round of parchment paper or waxed paper in the bottom of an 8-inch round springform or cake pan and tie a collar of parchment or waxed paper around the inside walls to extend 2 inches above the top of the pan. Butter and flour the paper. Soften the chocolate by leaving in a warm place for 10 minutes. Put the nuts and sugar in a blender or processor and pulverize the nuts.
In a double boiler, beat the egg yolks until very pale in color. Place over barely simmering water to warm. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over barely simmering water. Stir in the butter until blended. With a wire whisk, gently stir the chocolate into the yolks. With the same whisk, stir in the nut mixture until the sugar has melted.
In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt until they form stiff peaks. Stir 1/2 cup of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it; then gently fold all of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan until just warm to the touch, then invert onto a wire rack and let cool completely to room temperature. The cake will deflate slightly as it cools. It can be covered and set aside overnight at this point.
To make the coating and garnish: In a heavy, medium saucepan, warm 1 cup of the cream over medium heat and stir the chocolate into the cream until completely melted. Place the cake on a wire rack over a baking sheet and pour the chocolate mixture over the cake, completely coating the top and sides. Smooth with a spatula. Let cool to firm slightly, then press the chopped macadamia nuts into the chocolate. Using a broad spatula, transfer the cake to a plate.
In a deep bowl, beat the remaining 1/2 cup of cream until soft peaks begin to form. Beat in the coffee extract and Kahlua until stiff peaks form. Put the cream in a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip and pipe rosettes on and around the cake. Garnish with strawberries.