Four Clan Kitchen

What we eat everyday

Archive for August, 2014

Flourless Chocolate Almond Cake

Posted by fourclankitchen on August 17, 2014

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I saw this cake on one of my favorite blogs: Alexandra Cooks.  Just about everything I have made from this website has been great, so I highly recommend a visit.   This cake is called torta caprese, which I am guessing is Italian in origin.  It is gluten free and has no leavening besides beaten eggs and it is grand enough to serve at any kind of gathering.  So it is very versatile.  For grand cakes, it is also simple to make,  but it does require a number of dishes and bowls and proper sequencing.  So read the recipe all the way through before you launch into it.

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1. 2 cups almond meal/almond flour.

(Note: The original recipe calls for 12 oz or 2 cups of whole almonds. I used almond meal, but  when I measured 12 oz of almond meal, it was nearly 4 cups worth.  So I used 2 cups of almond meal, this worked fine.  I have also used 2 cups of whole almonds.  So I think may be the 12 oz is a misprint).

2. 1+ 1/4 cups sugar, divided

3. 8 oz bittersweet, coarsely chopped chocolate (2 bars of Ghiardelli)

4. 1/2 pound (2 sticks) salted butter (original recipe calls for unsalted butter, but that seemed wrong since know other salt is added)

5. 6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature

6. 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier (I omitted)

7. 2 tsp almond extract (not in the original recipe)

8. Confectioners’ sugar for sprinkling

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1.  Preheat oven to 325 and shift a rack to the bottom or bottom third of your oven.   Butter a 9″ springform pan, line with parchment paper and butter the paper as well.

2. Separate your egg whites and yolks, putting each in large bowls.

3.  Beat yolks with 1 cup of sugar for about 5 min until the yolks are light lemon colored and have increased in volume by a lot.

4.  Melt 2 sticks butter in the microwave in a largish bowl about a minute.  Then add the chocolate and mix.  Microwave for 30 seconds, mix and repeat if needed to melt the chocolate entirely.  Depending on the microwave, the first 30 seconds should do it, since the butter is already warmed up.  Do not overdo this step, or your chocolate will seize (separate from the cocoa butter and form little criddlies-you cannot recover from this mistake to my knowledge).

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5.  Fold in the almond meal into the egg yolks.  Then add the chocolate mix and almond extract (or grand mariner).

6.  Using a stand mixer, beat eggs whites at a slow speed for a minute or two, then add the remaining  1/4 cup of sugar and beat at high speed  till it forms firm peaks.

7.  Fold in the chocolate mix into the egg whites and mix gently to incorporate (don’t deflate the eggs).

8.  Place on a baking sheet and bake for 55-90 min (mine took 80 min), until an inserted tester comes out clean.

9.  Cool in pan for 15 min.  Remove the edges of the pan and cool completely.

10.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.

The cake is moist and lasts several days, so it is a good make-ahead cake.

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Cherry Jam (Small batch, no pectin)

Posted by fourclankitchen on August 5, 2014

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I love the idea of preserving summer fruits, but cannot abide canning.  I am always on the lookout for small batch jam recipes, because lets face it,  I don’t want to pit 5 lbs of cherries.  I winged this cherry jam and found that you can add way less sugar than standard recipes  and still have a perfectly flavored and gelled jam. You also don’t need to add pectin to most cooked jams.   The flavor of this jam is truly great.  It takes a while and you have to be around, but it is real easy to put together.

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2.5 lbs cherries

1 cup sugar

½ cup water

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1. Stem and pit cherries (a cherry pitter is useful here).

2. Pulse the cherries in the food processor to obtain a coarse puree. Do not over process.

3. Place the cherries in a medium sized sauce pan with the water and cook cherries uncovered  on medium for 20 min until completely soft.   Stir on and off. Do not leave the kitchen while doing this.

4. Add the sugar and turn down the heat so that the jam is at a bare simmer. Stir frequently. Boil until the jam starts to leave tracks on the bottom of the pan (mine took about 45 min, but this can differ quite a bit depending on your heat level). You an also use a candy thermometer and cook to 220˚F (the temperature at which jam sets) , but I find eyeballing to be simpler and pretty accurate.

5. Allow to cool, then ladle the jam into clean jars. Freeze if not using immediately.   This makes 1 ½ jars of jam, not worth canning. Freezing the bottle not targeted for immediate consumption works just fine for me. But by all means consult some other resource for canning to ensure safety.

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