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cloud nine

Recipe: chocolate cloud cake

I hope you all had a good weekend. Mine, you ask? Well… you might say it was EPIC.


friday morning and still coming down



See that? That’s a newly cleared driveway. That driveway, which belongs to me, was ever so sweetly snow-blown by my dear neighbor who saw me desperately shoveling 18 inches of fluffy white at 7:30 am so I could go ski at the local hill when the lifts opened. My neighbor is going to get chocolate in the very near future.

knee-deep, dry powder

with my buds jason and jared atop a double black



Best. Day. Of. The. Season. And poor Jeremy was at a conference in South Africa all week. We got a total of 31 inches at my house over the course of 1.5 days, which ain’t too shabby in my book. Of course, being Colorado, you can’t keep the sun away for long at all.

a glorious saturday morning

pretty snowflakes



It seemed when I wasn’t skiing, I was shoveling snow. Kaweah was my little shadow as I dug paths through the thick white blanket. She used to go bounding into the deeps, but is too old to get herself unstuck these days. I keep her close and she has fun shoving her schnoz into the walls of snow and sneezing in delight. The neighborhood is winter white. Jeremy is back home. Things are right with the world.

kaweah eating the snow on the deck



And it’s February. Did you notice that too? I normally have nothing but scorn for Valentine’s Day. I don’t like pink and I think this sort of mass social pressure on men to do something nice for women is just plain stupid. Men should be nice to women all the time. And vice versa. Everyone just freaking be nice to everyone, will ya? I realize that’s a bit much to ask.

But this week I am feeling the love in the kitchen. Oh, I don’t know. Perhaps it’s all of that powdery snow (and no winds – yet) putting me into the mood to make sweet treats. Maybe Valentine’s Day is just a coincidence. Who cares? We’re talking chocolate.


…and butter, sugar, eggs, booze, and orange zest

everything measured and prepped

line an 8-inch springform with parchment paper



I don’t love chocolate the way most of the world loves chocolate. We get along fine and leave it at that. However, I do enjoy baking with chocolate and distributing it to friends who give chocolate a better home than I can (in their tummies). Those quick and easy recipes attract my attention because no one around here is made of spare time.

whisk butter into melted chocolate

beat eggs, yolks, and sugar together



I made a chocolate cloud cake. The soft, white cloud of whipped cream caught my fancy at first, but then I liked how relatively simple the preparation was. It’s a flourless chocolate cake and I’ve blogged flourless chocolate cakes before. This one folds in whipped egg whites, which I was curious to try.

stir the chocolate into the egg mixture

add orange zest and some grand marnier



The recipe also has an orange theme which I find particularly appealing with all of the winter citrus marching through the markets. My incentive to make a recipe grows exponentially when I happen to have all of the ingredients in my house. Rock on.

whip the whites and some sugar to soft peaks

fold a little into the thick chocolate mixture, then fold in the rest

fill the cake pan

smooth the top



If your springform pan leaks like mine does, I highly recommend placing a baking sheet under the pan so you don’t wind up having to clean burnt flourless chocolate cake off the bottom of your oven. Yeah, that happened. The cake will puff up like a soufflé and when you take it out of the oven to cool, the center will crater. Don’t be alarmed. This is intended. The outer crust is super delicate, so do your best to minimize man-handling of the cake if you are at all concerned about presentation (if not, then go for it).

cooled

fill the crater with whipped cream

garnish as you like



My whipped cream is flavored with a touch of sugar, vanilla extract, and a hint of almond extract. Orange, chocolate, and almond make a nice trio. I sprinkled some shaved chocolate over the whipped cream and topped it off with candied blood orange peel I had lying about. The resulting cake is a smooth, rich chocolate interior with orange accents encased in a light and crispy exterior crust crowned with a cloud of whipped cream (to conveniently hide any imperfections). If you refrigerate the cake, it becomes thicker and denser. I prefer to serve it room temperature because of the silky texture and the more pronounced presence of the orange flavor. So if you’re looking for a fun, but not terribly involved baking project for Valentine’s Day or any day, this might be up your alley.

chocolate cloud cake

your slice of lovin’



Chocolate Cloud Cake
[print recipe]
Classic Home Desserts by Richard Sax

8 oz. good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used 67% Valrhona)
1/2 cup (8 tbsps) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
2 whole eggs
4 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
2 tbsps cognac or Grand Marnier
zest of an orange, grated
2 cups heavy whipping cream, chilled
2 tbsps sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
unsweetened cocoa powder or shaved chocolate for garnish

Oven 350°F. Line the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan with a round of wax or parchment paper. Don’t butter the pan (I know, this made me nervous, but it works out fine). Melt the chocolate in a double boiler, a bowl set over a hot water bath, or on half-power in the microwave for a minute at a time (stirring in between each minute). Whisk the butter pieces into the chocolate until melted. In another bowl, whisk the two whole eggs with the four egg yolks and half of the sugar until blended. Whisk the warm chocolate mixture into the eggs and then add the cognac or Grand Marnier and the orange zest. In a large bowl, beat the four egg whites until foamy and slowly add the remaining half cup of sugar and continue beating to soft peaks. I used a stand mixer with balloon whip attachment. Fold a quarter of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to temper it (the chocolate is quite thick and the whites are delicate, so we try to incorporate a small amount first to loosen the chocolate up before folding in the rest). Gently fold the remaining whites into the chocolate until it is uniform in color.

Pour the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Bake until the top of the cake is puffed up and the center no longer jiggles. This took me about 35 minutes. Take care not to overbake the cake. Let the cake cool in the pan on a cooling rack. The center of the cake will subside – this is intended. When the cake is cooled, loosen the cake from the sides of the pan with a knife and release the sides of the pan. I carefully slid my cake off the pan base onto the cake stand, although I couldn’t remove the parchment without possibly destroying the cake. Just before serving the cake, whip the cream, sugar, vanilla and almond extracts in a stand mixer to soft peaks. Fill the crater of the cake with the whipped cream. Garnish with a dusting of cocoa powder or sprinkling of shaved chocolate. (I added candied blood orange peels too.) Serves 8-12.

41 nibbles at “cloud nine”

  1. Judy says:

    I was thinking of you during the snowstorm, wondering if and hoping that you were in heaven. The cloud cake looks fabulous.

  2. Janet says:

    My nine year old daughter skied Eldora today and had a blast! So much fun to have the snow!

    And this cake looks like just the thing for my honey.

  3. Tina says:

    THIS LOOKS SO GOOD OHMYGOD YUMMM :) would be such a good valentine’s day cake :) just snuggling up with heavenly chocolate cloud cake on one hand and your special friend in the other ;)

  4. Stephanie says:

    The macro of the snowflakes is incredible!

  5. Hande says:

    I wonder how the whipped cream holds if you are not feeding a crowd and have leftover cake. Also wondering if it will not seep into the cake. If presentation is not paramount, maybe better to put whip cream only on slices you are serving rather than the whole cake? Can you please share your experience?

  6. Patricia Scarpin says:

    I just looove the huge amount of zest you added to the cake, Jen – delicious! Chocolate and orange are so good together. The cake looks gorgeous!

  7. Kristin says:

    Gorgeous! Glad you got some good snow &, I agree, just be nice to each other for pete’s sake!

  8. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar says:

    The name is perfect for this cake! Lovely@

  9. My German Kitchen...in the Rockies says:

    We got as much snow down here and my husband was out with the tractor several times to clear our driveway. My lab is in heaven, too!
    What a delicious looking cake! I have all the ingredients on hand. Lucky me.
    Thanks!
    Kirsten

  10. itchbay says:

    I’m so jealous of your snow. I’m pretty sure we’re having a no-snow winter here in Northern California.

    But at least there’s lots of citrus to console me. And chocolate.

  11. Amy Q says:

    We are getting NOTHING in the mountains of the East Coast– enjoy it for me!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. DeeDee says:

    I will be making this. Glad you got your snow!

  13. Shirley says:

    wow this looks so pretty…like snowflakes and soft white fluffy snow. Here in Toronto today is way above zero, sunny and warm!

  14. Melissa @ Baking For The Boys says:

    That is an epic weekend and dessert. Isn’t great to have such nice neighbors. I remember one day I walked outside to see my pavement cleared of snow. I was so thankful for my nice neighbor, they are one in a million!

  15. jenyu says:

    Janet – Oh, I wonder if I saw her?

    Tina – :)

    Hande – well, I can tell you, because I just looked at it in my refrigerator ;) The delicate crunchy shell becomes softer (still has a bit of crunch). The whipped cream hardens. The cake hardens. Doesn’t seem to be seeping into the cake, but it has been less than 24 hours. And yes, if serving to friends you can always plop some whipping cream on top rather than on the entire cake (or make smaller cakes? I dunno…) :)

    Patricia – yes, I am a big fan of orange and chocolate together!

  16. Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence says:

    Wow, that cake looks so airy and delicious. Love! I’m sure its a nice treat to enjoy while watching the snow fall.

  17. Russell at Chasing Delicious says:

    This cake looks scrumptious! I want to try this asap. So many good flavors. Yum.

  18. Jesica @ Pencil Kitchen says:

    oo.. my slice of lovin’ indeed.

  19. Memoria says:

    Valentine’s Day is not just for heterosexual relationships, either :), but I like that you said that everyone should just love each other all year round.

    This cake looks beautiful. I will always love your process photos, and I’m so jealous of all the snow! Your house is AMAZING!

  20. sara says:

    Yum, this cake looks so delicious! Love it, so pretty! :)

  21. Heidi Leon says:

    I´m so making this cake, I have eaten this kind of cake before but never knew how to make it. Gracias!

  22. joey says:

    This looks and sounds divine! I love this type of rich flourless chocolate cake…

  23. Hande says:

    Jen, thanks so much for the feedback – I thought you’d have some sitting around :) and making smaller cakes is a great idea, I think I’ll go that way!

  24. Melissa | Dash of East says:

    Oh wow, what a gorgeous cake. I love all those flavors in the whipped cream and the toppings… mmm.

    But what I really can’t take my eyes off of is all that snow! AH. BEAUTIFUL. The last time I remember seeing snow like that in person was when I was 12 back in VA. Wow, I need to visit CO in the winter now.

  25. Jill says:

    Everyday is Valentine’s Day in the Hyde House! I know, corn dog…and gag….but it’s how we feel.

    Your neighbor is AWESOME!

  26. Brynnie says:

    No snow here at a mile high in northern AZ either… we’re still waiting! My trail pup Nash hasn’t been able to get his quota of snow sneezes in, he’s trying to be patient! BTW, that snowflake photo is EPIC in my book. Absolutely crazy beautiful.

    And even though I’m not a huge fan of chocolate and orange, that is one of the prettiest cakes I’ve ever seen – would definitely not be able to resist a taste! You might make a believer outta me (the whole concept of fruit messing with my chocolate has never been my thing… ;)

  27. farmerpam says:

    Wow, that cake looks awesome. Gonna put it on my list to try, although I’m afraid it won’t go too well with the ass reduction plan. Moderation, moderation. So happy to hear you got the powder, I smiled and thought of you the other day when I heard the news and I knew you’d be filling us in. I was hoping the storm would come our way……no luck. New England is still waiting for an epic storm. Our slopes are what I call bullet proof, meaning lots of ice, which of course is not much fun. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy the fluffer!

  28. Michael Frye says:

    I’m envious of the snow – could you please send some to the Sierra? :)

  29. Ruth Ann says:

    Looks amazing!!!

  30. Molly says:

    Have you found a lactose-free version of whipping cream? This is the holy grail.

  31. Allie says:

    Ohhhh man this looks good. I seriously need to invest in a springform pan…

    I also have a question: I bought the preserved Szechuan vegetable that you use in a lot of recipes, but unfortunately I realized it wasn’t “mustard green” but “chinese radish.” Everything else on the can looks the same. Do you happen to know any recipes that use this so I can use it up? If not, I’ll probably chop it up into some fried rice…

  32. Pauline says:

    Yummy…this looks really good.

  33. Cookin Canuck says:

    Thirty-one inches?! Wow, you really did get dumped on. I can sense your ear-to-ear grin from here. This cake is absolutely gorgeous. Forget Valentine’s Day – I’ll take a piece of this any day of the year.

  34. Helena says:

    Seriously – I just took this gorgeous cake out of the oven and it is so beautiful! My two daughters are gluten intolerant and this is tonight’s dessert.

  35. jenyu says:

    Memoria – no, of course not and it isn’t just for romantic relationships for that matter :) love is love.

    Heidi – you’re welcome!

    Melissa – yeah, I didn’t see snow like this very often growing up in southern VA.

    Jill – :)

    Brynnie – you could totally make this a chocolate-raspberry cake (I was thinking of that, but I really love a good orange-choco combo).

    farmerpam – I took a bite, gave the rest to Jeremy and a friend of mine! And yeah, I really really really prefer the snow in Colorado :)

    Michael – you’re asking me to SHARE this?? ;) okay, but only for you!

    Molly – there is a cashew cream that I’ve seen a friend make that is a good whipped cream substitute. If you google for a recipe, I’ll bet you can find one.

    Allie – you know, I don’t know if it’s really mustard green or Chinese radish, but I think it’s just an issue of translation because if the can is the same, it is the same vegetable. I use it in like… everything.

    Cookin’ Canuck – if you come to visit me, my dear, I will make this cake JUST for you :)

    Helena – Oh, I hope they loved it!

  36. Gabriela says:

    I made this cake last week and it was fantastic. Filled it up with coffee marshmallow instead of whipped cream and it was good!

    About the cooking time, it only took about 15 minutes in the oven…

  37. Kim says:

    Thanks for this recipe! It was absolutely delicious. Chocolate and orange is a new obsession of mine. We did a 7 course dinner with a few close friends and used this as our dessert. It was the perfect ending to an incredible meal without having to do to much work and without making us feel disgustingly full after all of that food!

  38. Melinda says:

    This may be a silly question…but how do you get the wax/parchment paper off the bottom of the cake before you serve it without completely destroying the delicate top??

  39. jenyu says:

    Melinda – not silly at all. When the cake cooled, I placed it on the edge of a cake plate and pushed it just over the edge so I could peel the edge of the parchment from the base of the cake. I kept moving the cake out so I could peel more away. When the cake was almost 50% off the plate, I placed my hand under the overhanging part of the cake (where the parchment was peeled away) and lifted it carefully while pulling the parchment off with the other hand.

  40. Courtney says:

    Hi Jen! This looks like it is the perfect cake for my Dads’s 60th B-day, he loves loves loves flour less chocolate cake!! Thanks for the inspiration! I was wondering if you could tell me how you candied your blood orange peels? I have found a couple of recipes online and they look slightly different from yours with extra crunchy sugar on it. I love how skinny yours are, and cannot tell if they are as sugary as others online. Thanks again, you ROCK!!!

  41. jenyu says:

    Courtney – I think the ones with crunchy sugar on them are probably rolled in sugar after they are removed from the sugar syrup. I just sliced mine thin and simmered them in a sugar syrup until they become translucent (3 cups sugar, 1 cup water, peels from about 4 oranges).

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