I wasn’t planning on doing any more sweet baked goods this week (my next endeavor was going to be either yeasted spelt waffles or some everyday spelt bread), but our former neighbors who moved out-of-state are coming back to visit and bringing us cherries, so my mom thought I should bake this cake that I made for Christmas Eve dinner that she hasn’t stopped talking about since.
Normally I’d be more hesitant to self-call, but I don’t think I can take much of the credit for how awesome that cake was. My brother Zach made the cool stencil and I did the baking, but most of the recipe was from the absolutely amazing Smitten Kitchen blog. Seriously, Deb is a genius. I drool over nearly everything she posts, though I haven’t made very much of it. When I stumbled on this recipe for a wheat-free (and gluten-free) chocolate cake that promises complex flavor without the density of a flourless chocolate cake, I knew I had to make it at the next available opportunity, and it did not disappoint. It is indeed flavorful without being too rich, gluten-free and delicately-structure without being crumbly, and includes buckwheat without tasting like health food (it most assuredly is not).
Because I am nearly incapable of cooking or baking without fiddling with the recipe somehow, I did make a few modifications to the original recipe, replacing some of the butter with Greek yogurt and adding some cocoa powder to compensate for not being able to find 70% baking chocolate at the nearest grocery store. Nobody complained last time, so I”ll assume it was ok.
Chocolate Buckwheat Cake
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen. Apart from the aforementioned ingredient changes, I simplified the directions a bit.
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, plus extra for buttering pan
3.5 oz (100 g) bittersweet dark chocolate (70 to 72 percent is ideal, or add 1-2 Tbsp natural cocoa powder as well)
4 large eggs at room temperature
2 Tbsp Greek yogurt (I used fat-free)
1/2 cup granulated or blond cane sugar
A good pinch of sea salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup almond meal
Butter a 8- or 9-inch cake pan and line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper to prevent sticking. Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit. Melt the chocolate and butter together, either in a double boiler or in short stints in the microwave, stirring frequently*. If your chocolate is not as dark as you’d like (last time I made this, I could only find 62%), stir 1-2 Tbsp (or to taste) cocoa powder into the melted butter-chocolate mixture until thoroughly mixed. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar, and salt until pale and doubled in volume (use an electric beater for this, not a whisk; the lightness of the eggs is critical to the final lightness of the cake!). It should still be liquid-y. At about the halfway point, add the vanilla and Greek yogurt and continue beating until light-textured, pale, and doubled in volume, 5 to 9 minutes. Don’t skimp on this step; it’s what prevents this cake from being too dense. Gently fold in the melted chocolate mixture. Sprinkle the buckwheat and almond flours over the batter and gently fold to combine.
Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 20-30 minutes, until a toothpick or other tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out dry.
Let cool for at least 5 minutes in the pan, run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake (important!), then invert onto a rack. Remove the parchment paper and move back upright to a serving plate. (I served my last one upside-down. Nobody cared.) Optionally, sprinkle with powdered sugar just before serving.
Serving suggestions: whipped cream and/or vanilla ice cream and/or berries, or ice cream flavor of your choice.
*Note on melting chocolate: if you’re melting chocolate and butter together, just microwave them both until the butter is completely liquid, then stir to distribute the heat and melt the chocolate. Even if it’s mostly solid when you start, you should be able to completely melt together then chocolate and butter just by stirring the heated butter into the slightly warm chocolate. This helps you keep the butter-chocolate mixture as cool as possible while still remaining liquid, so you don’t accidentally cook your eggs when you combine the two.