Have you ever…
Fallen crazily in love?
Fallen down, way down, with no glimpse of the sky?
Fallen, literally, into a mud puddle, or down a flight of stairs or simply between the cracks?…
This devastatingly rich chocolate cake, too, has fallen, but it was designed to fall. It is, after all, flourless, and has no chemical leaveners; its components is not really the basis for anything sturdy. Cakes are one of those few things that can be meant to fall. Unlike people, this cake falls perfectly into a rich and soulful plate of splendor.
Its sunken-ness was planned and executed, not a shock. Maybe that’s the crux of a bad fall…the catch us off guard and pull the ground out from under us kind of thing. Ones that sneak up on us from out of nowhere just may be the worst of all.
Falling, though awful, may give us a chance to grow. After all, everyone falls, but it’s how we pull ourselves back up that says so much about who we are now and who we are becoming.
When we fall, if there’s a hand there, a good, strong hand that can pull hard and lift us up from the ground, carefully wash our wounds and stick on bandaids, then maybe falling has its place. A place that can actually make us feel quite secure as ironic as that sounds.
And perhaps, falling isn’t only about the one who falls. Falling might just also be about those around after the fall. Those from the places you least suspect who dive in and glue the broken pieces together. Falling might just give someone a chance to be a hero.
Like this balsamic cherry sauce…
Yeah, the cake would have been fine on its own after it fell; it is made from ridiculously good chocolate after all. But for once, the sauce, the beautiful glistening dark balsamic cherry sauce, gets to be the hero as it oozes between the cracks and glosses over any wounds.
Fallen Chocolate Cake with Balsamic Cherry Sauce
Adapted from Cooking Light (yes, friends it only has 262 calories and 6.6g. of fat!)
1/2 cup shelled pistachios
1+ 1/4 cup granulated sugar divided
1/4 cup water
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, best quality you can get your hands on.
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa, the better the chocolate the better your cake…trust me.
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
optional: 1/8 teaspoon almond extract (I did not use it and liked it the way it was)
4 large egg whites at room temperature (yes 4, not a type-o)
Balsamic Cherry Sauce
Inspired by Cooking Light (the original sauce calls for red wine instead of water…I think port would be magnificent, but I chose to use water and balsamic vinegar in a very small quantity and it was lovely)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 lb frozen dark, pitted cherries
For the Cake: Spray a 9 inch spring-form pan amply with cooking spray, then cut a perfectly fitted circle out of parchment paper to line the bottom (I trace around my pan and then cut the paper). Spray the parchment as well, now that it’s on the pan.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the pistachios in a food processor and whir to oblivion, leaving a fine crumb of pistachios. Gently press your pistachios into the bottom of the pan, on top of the parchment.
To make the batter, in a medium saucepan combine one cup of the sugar, and the water and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat; stir in bittersweet chocolate and salt. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Add cocoa powder, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Add the three whole eggs, individually, whisking in between each egg addition. Stir in extracts.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a balloon whisk, put in the four egg whites and beat first on medium then on high until stiff peaks form. As the peaks are beginning to form, gradually add the 1/4 c. of sugar one tablespoon at a time.
Once the stiff peaks form, fold 1/4 of the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture and repeat until all of the egg whites are incorporated into the chocolate mixture. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees F. for about 25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out nearly clean. You will have some batter on the toothpick since this cake is meant to have a texture that is a cross between a flourless cake and a touch pudding-y.
Cool to room temperature; run a knife around the outside edge and remove from the pan gently upside down onto a wire rack. Peel off the parchment paper, and invert again onto a serving plate so it is now right side up.
While the cake is cooling, make the sauce. Combine the sugar, water and balsamic vinegar in a medium saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add the cherries and bring to a boil, reducing the heat once it boils and simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until the mixture reduces by about a half. The sauce can be used to ladle over each slice of cake upon serving.
March 26, 2011 at 11:49 am
This looks absolutely delightful! Thanks for inspiration for Easter dessert!
March 26, 2011 at 8:33 pm
March 26, 2011 at 12:27 pm
Yum! I love the pistachio/chocolate mix and the sauce is the perfect final touch.
March 26, 2011 at 8:32 pm
I love the addition of the bottom layer of pistachios as well. It kind of takes this cake to a whole other level and then when you add the sauce…oh my.
March 26, 2011 at 4:08 pm
WOW! That looks so good! I like the chocolate part. 🙂
March 26, 2011 at 8:32 pm
March 26, 2011 at 5:03 pm
Hmmm. This definitely peaks my interest. I’ve never made anything with balsamic vinegar that I didn’t like and I haven’t ever tried it with chocolate. I just may have to give this a shot. Have a wonderful weekend!
March 26, 2011 at 8:31 pm
You too! Let me know how it goes.
March 26, 2011 at 9:49 pm
I adore flourless cakes. I love the addition of the nuts on the bottom. I am going to have to try that sauce, it sounds fabulous.
March 27, 2011 at 5:50 am
You may want to check out the red wine version on Cooking Light as well. I am allergic to wine and can’t use it but honestly the balsamic one was amazing.
March 26, 2011 at 10:56 pm
This looks decadently rich and chocolateeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeey! The pistachio base is killing me!!
March 27, 2011 at 5:49 am
And yet it’s not a calorie nor fat monster so you can go ahead and make it and eat it with relatively little guilt! 🙂
March 27, 2011 at 12:54 am
I am not good with baking and this is the first time I heard of a flourless cake, the only thing flourless I knew was coconut macaroons. BTW that cake looks seductive!
March 27, 2011 at 5:49 am
If you are not good with baking, then you should try this recipe to get you started. It won’t matter one bit when your cake falls…it’s supposed to.
March 27, 2011 at 7:40 am
This looks amazing. Seriously. You’ve hit my favourite combination of flavours here. I may try it with a raspberry sauce as I have some insanely amazing raspberry vinegar…
March 28, 2011 at 12:12 pm
That would really be delicious!
March 27, 2011 at 10:26 am
Yum! There’s nothing better than a dense, chocolatey cake. Unless it’s topped with cherries! Wow.
March 27, 2011 at 12:03 pm
This is the kind of fallen that I like. fallen angel devilish delicious fallen. That balsamic cherry sauce…amazing.
March 27, 2011 at 1:20 pm
oh wow! i’m drooling!…
March 27, 2011 at 2:13 pm
What a fabulous dessert! I think the cherries elevate it to something truly special.
March 27, 2011 at 4:18 pm
Oh my goodness. This sounds so amazing I dont even know what to say.
I want it.
March 27, 2011 at 11:57 pm
Yum yum yum ….
Chocolate Cake with Balsamic cherry Sauce, what more could one want …
March 28, 2011 at 6:09 am
OMG…this is heavenly. I can definitely fall for this cake and not sure I will even want to get back up!! I am soo looking forward to making this. Thank you!
March 28, 2011 at 12:17 pm
Thanks everyone for such nice comments!
March 28, 2011 at 2:57 pm
Definitely up my alley, this concoction!
March 28, 2011 at 6:06 pm
This looks devastatingly delicious. I think I just fell in love.
March 29, 2011 at 8:29 am
March 29, 2011 at 8:33 am
wow – this looks heavenly – Another fabulous post with delicious photos!! Hope you are well Geni!
March 29, 2011 at 9:05 am
OMG this looks amazing. I think I really have fallen crazy in love! 😉
March 30, 2011 at 8:44 am
I don’t know what to say about this recipe. You know I am a chocolate lover and seeing this chocolate cake with dark cherry glaze drizzled all over, I get excited lol. There is nothing else to say but I am excited reading this post lol.
April 1, 2011 at 3:07 am
I want to put my face in that bowl of pistachios….yummmmm 🙂
April 1, 2011 at 7:12 pm
This looks like a delicious cake! I’ve been meaning to try a fallen chocolate cake at some point because they look so rich and chocolate-y and great. When I do I’ll be sure to try out the cherry sauce!
April 6, 2011 at 11:12 am
I made this cake for a dinner party last weekend. When served, the entire table went silent. At first I thought there was something really wrong but when I tasted it, I knew it was the best tasting dessert they ever put in their mouth. Thank you, thank you!
I made the cake with the almond extract and I took your port advice for the cherry reduction sauce, most excellent.
One element I added to the plates was a small scoop of home made creme fraiche. It brightened the plate and the sour went perfectly with the chocolate.
April 6, 2011 at 11:25 am
Thank you so much for the tried and loved it report. I am so happy when it works for others. Also, I think your creme fraiche is a brilliant addition. It’s funny, but I couldn’t put my finger on what I had wanted to add to the plate. I almost added a dollop of a cream cheese frosting “sauce” but that would have been too sweet so I opted not to do it. Creme fraiche is absolutely the best idea.
May 6, 2011 at 12:41 pm
Oh wow, I didn’t have a lot of time to cruise around this morning. You’re the cake queen! I love this one.
May 6, 2011 at 2:36 pm
The Cake Queen…I just may steal that as my new title which my friends and family will have to call me. Thanks for the nice compliment.
November 10, 2011 at 4:35 pm
I love the first photo, makes me wanna stick my face in it! :p
February 10, 2020 at 12:21 pm
Reblogged this on Sweet And Crumby.