I’d been holding onto this recipe for years. When I first discovered the Bon Appetit youtube channel, long before their chefs became internet sensations, BA released these rushed videos breaking down a recipe set to some fast paced music with a select few chefs demonstrating them. One of which was Claire Saffitz who, at this point, has cemented her status as a culinary genius for me. I rarely have issues with Claire’s recipes, and even when I do, the results are delicious all the same. I was looking through my pantry and sure enough had all of what I needed to make this. So I brushed off the dust from my Bookmarks folder and got to work. Claire calls this the perfect Passover dessert in that it’s gluten and dairy free. Now I’m not Jewish, but this cake looked so good, I’d been dying to try it all these years.
This chocolate macaroon cake is essentially a flourless chocolate cake made with almonds and coconuts, and topped off with a non-dairy chocolate ganache. I’ve made flourless chocolate cakes before with some success, however it always seems to be a coin toss whether or not they’re completely cooked. Still, I followed Claire’s recipe, starting off by preparing a 10” cake pan with parchment and a dusting of cocoa powder. I then melted down a combination of bittersweet and semisweet chocolate along with some coconut oil. The recipe called for 60%, so I essentially split the difference with half 56% and half 72%- math skills, amirite? Next came the dry mix. Now I happened to be out of almonds, so I subbed that for a scant cup of almond flour which I added after pulsing the unsweetened coconut, salt and cocoa powder. Once mixed in, I was ready for the last part of this cake- the eggs. Like other flourless chocolate cakes I’ve made, the main leavening (or rising agent) in this cake comes from eggs. Six eggs are whipped up along with granulated and brown sugar until ribbon stage, after which chocolate is slowly drizzled in. Last comes the dry mix which is folded into the batter before emptying into the cake pan to bake for about 45 minutes- more on that later. Once my cake was cooled, I removed it from the pan and let it chill while I made the ganache. It’s as simple as heating up coconut milk before letting it melt the chopped chocolate, along with agave and salt. This ganache mixture sits for about five minutes before getting whipped up for another 6. After being spread on top, I ended up skipping the nutty-coconut topping as I was out of almonds, and instead topped it off with some toasted shredded coconut.
I had some hesitations going into this as the recipe had a few reviewers saying parts of the process didn’t work for them. I ran into some of those issues- mainly with the cake taking a lot longer to bake than stated. I added about 20 more minutes to the bake time- not sure if it had to do with my oven or me using a springform pan instead of a traditional cake pan. Still, it wasn’t too big of a deal, just something to note for future use. Like a lot of the reviewers, my ganache didn’t quite set after the 6 minutes of beating. However, based on my experience with buttercream, the key is temperature. I let the ganache chill for about 5 minutes in the fridge before re-beating and sure enough, it whipped up nice and thick just like a soft buttercream. I even managed to get those decorative swoops that Claire got on her cake. I can’t say I would have known this if I wasn’t a *slightly experienced baker, so heads up if you try this out. This cake definitely has some amazing flavor. The chocolate cake is dense and fudgey- like the most decadent brownie you’ve ever had. And then there’s that ganache which takes all of the best parts of the chocolate fudge frosting you remember from your childhood- minus the artificial ingredients and grainy texture. The addition of coconut is amazing too, as the cake gives me some serious Almond Joy vibes. All in all, this is definitely something I recommend you make as it’s worth every step.
Full Recipe | Method by Claire Saffitz or Bon Appetit: