What is it with the French?
I have been thinking and reading a little bit about the french way of living. And it seems like any place on the internet (and a few books I have) is saying the same thing about the french.They somehow do things better. Their lifestyle, fashion sense, the way they eat, the way they interact with people and just generally their way of being.
The French seem to know how to live life. They know how to enjoy those little things life has to offer. Take the Parisians for example. A typical Paris appartment is not big, but the people living there are ok with a small living space. They find practical solutions to suit their everyday needs and they’re contented with it. They invite friends over for cheese and wine and they find pleasure with the small intimate companionship in a small intimate room talking about work, art, family and life.
Parisians’ sense of fashion is simple, effortless and timeless. They don’t indulge too much with extravagant and expensive things because they think it’s a waste of money and time. And if they do, they don’t brag and show it.
And the way they enjoy their food… I remember watching Mirielle Guiliano (author of the book French Women Don’t Get Fat) on Oprah a few years back. She talked about how the french (women) have their meals in small portions. They take their time to enjoy every bite, every piece of meat, fish or vegetable they eat. They let their tastebuds feel every texture and taste of the food they are eating. They can enjoy a 3 course dinner every single night without getting fat. They can enjoy their glass of champagne or wine for lunch without getting tipsy. Because they eat and drink with pleasure.
France is known for the love of their desserts. And the French are the inventors of desserts. But they don’t get fat! They like their cakes in small portions. They don’t over indulge. They don’t stuff their faces with every single dessert they eat.
I bake and make cakes for a hobby. But being a diabetic, I don’t eat cake that much. I do enjoy my dessert every once in while too but not all the time. I like my sweets too. I mean I call myself Sugarboy (and getting fat again lately; but that’s another story, another long blogpost. Let’s not get there for now) so it only makes sense. Ironic, I know.
Every now and then I make french desserts too. A choux pastry, gateau opera, frech meringue, chocolate souffles, madeleines and french macarons. These are some classics that I love to make whenever I have time or just craving for something french.
The other day I made this Classic French Chocolate Torte. It’s small enough for me and the mister to enjoy for a few days. It’s decadent and very chocolate-y that a single slice is enough for dessert. And the good thing is, this cake is flourless. Yes! Glutenfree. So you don’t get that bloated feeling after a hearty meal. It’s perfect anytime of the day. After lunch, dinner or afternoon tea. This afternoon I discovered that a cup of peppermint tea was perfect with it.
As I was enjoying a small slice, I imagined that I am sitting in a bistro in Paris looking at the people passing by. Looking chic with their striped shirt, beret on their head, a baguette under the arm, and a bottle of french wine inside a stylish tote bag.
As I said, just like how the French do it, I enjoyed this petit slice in every bite. The soft tender texture and that deep dark decadent intense chocolate taste. Yes, I just wrote a four adjective to describe how it taste. It was that good. I swear. Just look at that picture on top. That small wedge with the gooey soft center. The fine tender crumb on the sides and that pretty light dusting of powdered sugar on top. It’s perfection. Just like how the French do it.
It was almost like the same as what I had in a bistro in Paris when I was there. But a little better. Of course, because I baked it.
This is definitely a household favourite and I bake this often.
So without further ado, I’m sharing the recipe.
Flour Free Chocolate Torte
125g dark chocolate (preferably Valrhona), roughly chopped
125g unsalted butter, softened
150g granulated sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla paste
75g 100% cocoa powder (Valrhona)
Preheat the oven to 170*C, greaseand line (with baking paper) a 20cm* springform cake tin.
Melt the chocolate in a bain marie/ double boiler*. Leave to cool.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggsone at a time. Scrape the sides of the bowl every after addition. Then whisk in the cooled melted chocolate and the vanilla.
Sift the cocoa powder and fold in gently.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 35 minutes.
After baking transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely while inside the tin.
To serve, lightly dust with powdered sugar on top.
* I baked mine on a 15cm spring form pan. It made a smaller cake with a little bit height. Just perfect for me and the mister. If you see the pattern where the small slice was taken from, it left a little pattern on the cake stand. I did not line my baking tin because it was a non-stick tin. Make sure to line yours if it’s not non-stick so it’s easy to take out the cake.
* When melting the chocolate on a double boiler (I use a glass bowl that fits on top of a sauce pan with just enough water), do not let the simmering water touch the bowl on top. It might “burn” the chocolate.
* When measuring the cocoa powder, don’t be surprised (I was) because it seems like a lot, but trust me, it adds to the decadence of the cake.
* This cake can be served with a dollop of whipped cream on top and some fresh season berries. But I prefer to eat it as it is.
If you’re making this cake, please tell me how you like it. I’m on social media so use the hashtag #sugarboyed so I can also see.