Baking a cake over the coals? Quelle idée.
But pizza bakes perfectly over blazing charcoal, so why not biscuits, or rhubarb pie, or even a flourless chocolate cake?
As any good French chef would do, I headed straight for the flourless chocolate cake, set it over the coals, closed the cover and held my breath. When I opened the cover Voila! A perfectly puffed, gloriously tender cake was ready to be cooled and served. When I did, the oohs and aahs drowned out the church bells, not an easy thing to do.
BARBECUE AS OVEN
So of course, the barbecue is an oven. Baking a cake in it (or on it) is proof. And even as the coals glow, they don’t lend a smokey flavor unless you want them too. Naturally, for a flourless chocolate cake I didn’t want any and I didn’t get any.
THE NUMBER ONE CAKE
I’ve had this recipe up my sleeve for awhile – it’s consistently voted no. 1 dessert in this country. There is every reason why, including that it contains five ingredients (salt is one), all of which you’ve probably got in your pantry, it takes 5 minutes to make, its so luscious that you want to eat the whole thing. And now, it can be baked to perfection over charcoal.
learn more about French baking, join a class: www.onruetatin.com
FULL MEAL ON THE BARBECUE
What’s great about this whole concept of dessert over the coals is that you grill a full meal then. as the coals begin to wane, you use their heat to bake dessert so that just when you’re ready, it is too.
Bon courage et Bon Appétit!
Flourless Chocolate Cake
Astuce: I like to use a heavy, non-stick pan for this cake. See photo. Also, avoid charcoal with the addition of petroleum or chemical additives.
6-1/2 ounces (200g) semi-sweet 952-60%) chocolate, coarsely chopped
3-1/2 ounces (105g) unsalted butter, cut in pieces
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (120g) vanilla sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
Fine sea salt
- Preheat the grill to 350F (180C). If using a charcoal grill, put the coals on one side of the grill. Butter and flour a 9-1/2 inch (24cm) round cake pan.
- Place the chocolate and the butter in a small pan over low heat and melt it, stirring occasionally to be sure the chocolate isn’t sticking. When the mixture is melted, remove it from the heat to let cool slightly.
3. In a large bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk the eggs until they are combined. Add the sugar and continue whisking until they are pale yellow and slightly foamy, which will take several minutes.
4. Fold the chocolate mixture into the eggs and sugar until thoroughly combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, holding the bowl low over the pan so that the mixture doesn’t have to “fall” too far.
5. Set the pan on the grill away from the coals. Cover the grill and bake until the cake is puffed and slightly firm to the touch on top, which will take 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the cake from the grill and let cool to lukewarm before slicing.
Serves 8 to 10