Milk Street Follow Up – Part 2

February 1, 2017

The second recipe I wanted to try from the new 177 Milk Street magazine was a chocolate-rum-prune cake that the author of the article about Claire Ptak’s Violet bakery in East London raved about. Ptak used whiskey and almond flour in hers but the author felt adjustments were required in order to make it easier for home cooks. So now it is flourless, Milk Street reworked it to use no flour. That being said they baked it in the oven without a bain Marie (water bath), so I was skeptical of the resulting texture.  

This is a time consuming recipe, and I’m always willing to put in the time for a fabulous result. I did learn a bit about whipping egg yolks to maintain a butter and chocolate emulsion, so that was helpful. Chopping prunes and dealing with molasses and rum and egg whites proved messy. But the bottom line was that the finished product, while good, was not as good as my original go-to flourless chocolate cake recipe from the wonderful chef-owned French restaurant Chez Nous in Western Massachusetts.

If I’m ever in East London I plan to go to Violet to try Ptak’s original cake, which I’m sure is stellar. My photos of the process are below and the recipe can be found here:

Click on image to view full size

If anyone tries the recipe I’d love to know what you think, but since Valentine’s Day is coming up I’m offering up Chez Nous’ always amazing Flourless Chocolate Devastation Cake for your own celebration.

Flourless Chocolate Devastation Cake

Prepare an 8” cake pan by greasing the bottom and lining it with a piece of parchment paper. Heat the oven to 325F.

  1. In a bowl over simmering water melt 11 oz. of high-quality bittersweet chocolate (Lindt, Callibaut, or Ghiardelli are all good) with 5 oz. of sweet (unsalted) butter.
  2. In a separate bowl whisk ¾ c. sugar with 7 large eggs.
  3. Combine the two mixtures quickly and thoroughly and turn into the prepared pan. Place in a roasting pan and pour heated water half way up the sides of the cake pan.
  4. Bake until the edges look dry but the center is still shiny, about 30 minutes.
  5. Let chill completely in the fridge (preferably overnight) before releasing the sides with a small knife and turning the cake out.

Now wasn’t that easier? You can serve this cake with soft-whipped cream and the berries of your choice, but honestly it needs nothing. It freezes beautifully and I’ve doubled the recipe to make 2 cakes for bigger parties with no issues whatsoever.

Trust me, for this cake on Valentine’s Day you’ll get really good jewelry.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Cheryl February 1, 2017 at 9:36 am

Definitely going to try making your Devastation Cake (the name alone is irresistible) Thanks for another entertaining column!


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