No more night songs and flourless chocolate cake

For as long as I can remember, Kid 1 has always wanted me to sing him a bed time song. That song is Edelweiss from The Sound of Music. (Please don’t ask if I sound better than Julie Andrews ever did, I don’t want to hurt her feelings.)

Recently, my pink and purple soul was trampled upon.

As I went in to sing; my beautiful, wombat hair coloured, think outside the box, question me always, ten year old said ‘No Mum. I don’t want a song thanks.’ ‘Are you sure?’ I asked. The wobble in my voice ever so slightly perceptible (from outer space I am sure.)

I tried singing the first line. ‘No mum, I really don’t want you to sing.’

Naturally I handled this situation with adult dignity and aplomb. I didn’t really say ‘Wow, you hurt my feelings!’ (Ummm, more than once, in the pathetic hope of guilting him into allowing me to sing to him.)

Time ticked by, I thought that he would shout to me at any moment. ‘Mum, can you sing me a song?’

But that night, not a peep, squeak, burp, fart or mild kerfluffle. Perhaps this was a sign of things to come. My heart hung low as I faced the fact that this special time may have passed between us.

This mum knows that we are lucky to have each other whole and hearty. Yet I am also a mumma with a tender squidgy middle. Somewhat akin to a Cadburys strawberry soft centred chocolate. (The kind of chocolate that we ate back in the old days and now pretend that we don’t like.)

Tomorrow, I thought to myself, I will bake him his favorite cake. This is it.

(I did not, I repeat, did not, go into his room when he was asleep and sing to him. I will deny it.)


This is our celebration cake and sometimes, our ‘just because’ cake. A meringue like crispy shell with a moist, fudgy but still light crumb. It is a Donna Hay recipe that I have been baking for over ten years now. This gluten free wonder has NEVER (sorry to shout, I got a bit excited) failed me.

Not wanting to go all chocolate elitist on you, I have baked this cake with regular dark cooking chocolate and it is always very, very good. But when you use top shelf swankarama chocolate, it is elevated to the realm of special cakes that will be served in heaven.

200g (7oz) chopped dark cooking chocolate (I used Callebaut dark chocolate)
150g (5oz) butter, chopped
5 eggs, separated
3/4 cup caster (superfine) sugar (I used raw caster sugar)
1 1/2 cups almond meal
Icing sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 160C (325F). Line and grease a non-stick 22cm (9 in) springform cake tin.
Place chocolate and butter in a saucepan over low heat and stir until melted and combined.
Cool slightly, then pour into a large bowl.
Stir in the egg yolks, sugar and almond meal.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggwhites until stiff peaks form.
Fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture until just combined.
Spoon the mixture into the cake tin and bake for 1 hour and 5 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. (I usually test it at 50 minutes.)
Cool completely in the tin.
Run a knife around the edge of the cake and remove from the tin.
Dust with icing sugar. It’s grand when served with berries and double cream.

From a Donna hay magazine from 10 years ago. A second dedication goes out to Jon, cause she loves this cake.

Cooking Notes: when melting chocolate be aware that water is the enemy as it will make the mixture seize up. Use a super, clean bowl when whisking egg whites.

Variations on a theme: Use orange flavoured dark cooking chocolate and decorate with thin slices of candied orange. For a spiced version add 1/2 tsp each of cardamom powder and cinnamon powder to the almond meal and sugar mixture and stir well.

PostScript. Lately Kid 1 has wanted me to sing again so I am enjoying this reprieve whilst it lasts.


52 thoughts on “No more night songs and flourless chocolate cake

  1. Our kids get a song from Jennee every night. I’m not looking forward to the day they tell her they don’t want one… I think she’ll be in need of cake then, so I might need to stow this recipe for later πŸ™‚

  2. Reminds me of the day my two boys turned to me as I was walking them to school and said, “dad, we want to walk on our own from here”. Soon they were walking all the way to school without me, and something precious had been lost, but also something precious had begun.

    • Thanks Mrs Hungry, it is a bittersweet journey but wouldn’t change it for the world hey? This cake really is the business…one of my fave go to cakes for special get togethers and loved by coeliacs and non coeliacs alike.

  3. Oh no! I’m feeling a little heartbroken reading this and my boy’s only 2! I sing Edelweiss to him as well and he hums along while stroking my arm, it’s the most magical part of my day. I also won’t be sneaking into his room while he’s asleep and singing it to him… Cake looks delicious, I think I need some for future ‘no more singing’ pain.

    • It’s a magical lullaby the old Edelweiss isn’t it? How sweet he strokes your arm, that made me want to cry. Love hearing everyone’s nighttime sproglet rituals. Such a special time of the day. We will all need this cake at various times in the future. (I am hoping that Kid 2 still wants singing when Kid 1 stops…fingers crossed!)

  4. Jon

    I don’t usually reply to any blog posts, but I am making an exception in this case because I LOVE this cake and the chick who makes it. Jon xx

  5. Next time he says “No song,” just remember that he’s never going to stop loving your cake πŸ™‚ BTW I had no idea that Cadburys made a strawberry-centered chocolate! We don’t have that here but it sounds great.

    • Wise words Ms Moss and I will remember that! This kids sweet tooth will ensure I can always ‘bake him back home’ even if it’s just for afternoon tea when he has flown the nest. Oh yeah, the Cadburys milk chocolate box always had a soft strawberry centred chockie, ripe for the taking. What was your equivalent?

      • We had “drugstore chocolates” like Whitman’s but I always turned up my nose at them. They definitely did not have a strawberry centered one. Instead there was an icky chocolate covered maraschino cherry with lots of syrup.

      • Ha, that sounds gross. You showed good taste early on! It wasn’t a whole strawberry though just a ‘strawberry’ flavoured cream….when I ‘grew up’ and discovered freeze dried strawberries covered in dark chocolate, they made the Cadburys seem ho hum. However, there is still a ‘soft spot’ for those old school versions,

      • Freeze dried strawberries in dark chocolate! OMG… I am a sucker for a fruit/chocolate combination. Especially if it involves strawberries, which are not that much used in confections here.

  6. This looks fabulous! And I completely understand why you may or may not have gone in to sing that song. My little boy is growing out of things like that also, and I try to accept it. Really, I do……

  7. Okay, firstly, erase all that parental confusion and emotion that suggests your child has suddenly become a New York Times critic. I spent twelve years as a professional singer before having my kids, who when they finally learned how to put syllables together announced, “Stop. Don’t sing, Mom. Stop.” I nearly had a small attack. I told them, “People used to pay seventy-five bucks a ticket to hear me sing. What the heck is the matter with you two??” Their reply was, “It hurts our ears,” or “You don’t know how to do it right,” or some other such baloney meant to skewer me right through the middle.
    Therapy helped.
    And so will your chocolate cake!! Oh holy cow do I need some of that right now.
    Headin’ into the kitchen.
    Gonna sing and bake up a storm.
    The kids are getting none of it.

    • Your children just didn’t understand greatness…I did sing in a rock band ‘back in the day’ but I can assure you…no-one paid $75.00!! Tell me more Mrs P, did you sing opera, musicals, in a choir, a heavy metal rock band? This cake, even with the top shelf chocolate is still cheaper than therapy. Maybe your kids would pay you to not sing now!?? Philistines, all of em….. πŸ™‚

      • A rock band diva to boot. Totally cool, Cheer.
        Mine was big band swing orchestras, and shows in Vegas and L.A. Then I went into recording. All super fun, all a past life.
        I’ve got all my ingredients lined up for the cake. I especially adore almond flour in my ingredients. Cannot wait. And the kids are still not getting any. They can lick the bowl. πŸ˜›

      • I never even thought of a swing band, how totally fabulous. I love the texture of almond meal in baking. You are a kind mother to allow them to lick the bowl. πŸ™‚

  8. Hey Cheery, the one true consolation in the parenting business is that after your kids have finished growing up, they then have kids of their own. My grand daughters randomly sing with me AND we love to bake and eat flourless chocolate cake together too. Bonus!! We’ll bake this one together next school hols.

    • So true Madame LRS! My boys have categorically stated they will NOT be having children but they are 7 and 10. I will not panic just yet. It warms the cockles of my heart to think of you baking and singing with your grandbabies! This cake is really the bees knees. πŸ™‚

  9. Awww such a sweet story. My (now Mr15) abruptly told me to stop singing his favourite song one night with “stop mummy”. I thought he was sick and tried again the following night – same thing happened. I poured myself a large glass of wine. Probably should have baked a cake! Yours looks fab!

  10. Cheergerm, do you grind your own almond meal or buy it? I want to make this cake but I may need to grind the meal myself in a food processor if I can’t get it packaged. Would that be a fine enough texture?

    • Hiya, I purchased my latest almond meal from a health food co op in bulk. It’s quite fine. However, I have purchased almond meal from super markets as well. You do need a fine mix for it to get that lightness. I have been told that Bobs Red mill almond meal isn’t fab (never seen it over here). Friends of mine grind theirs in their Thermomix’s but if you have a really good spice blender, I think you could get a fine quality. I would sieve it once you have ground it to get out any chunky monkey bits. Hope that rambling made sense!

    • Hey LM! Been thinking and if you can’t find it, and you have to use your food processor, blend it as fine as you can then sieve it. I think it should be cool. I think it’s best to use blanched almonds, so you don’t get the almond skins, my friend doesn’t roast them first but there are various schools of thought on that.

      • I made the cake and it was delicious and a hit with my guests, but it didn’t come out like yours. It was much denser and not as tall. I was disappointed that I couldn’t get a fluffier crumb. I was careful to beat the egg whites to stiff peaks and fold them in as gently as I could, but the choc-mixture was very thick. I wonder if it’s to do with the different chocolate I used (Scharffenberger 99%). It was extremely dark and the cake looked black, not cocoa brown like yours.
        Served it with whipped cream and sliced strawberries soaked in cognac. Everyone happy πŸ™‚

      • Hiya! I am chuffed you baked it and glad it was enjoyed by all! It would have been scrumptious with the grown up strawberries,,,yum. The chocolate percentage does change the density of the cake. (I will go and make a note of that on the recipe). I have never used a 99% but that’s because it’s a bit too bitter for the kidlets taste. I used the callebaut coverture which I had thought was darker than it was. I would guess around the 60-70%. It didn’t come with the percentage on it. I have made it with 80 and it was definitely more dense and an ‘adult’ type texture. πŸ™‚

      • Ah, that is interesting. I had to choose between the two percentages of Scharffenberger, and didn’t know which one to pick. Also I am wondering if my cake pan was perhaps a bit wider than yours. I don’t have a springform pan, so I just lined a regular cake pan with greased parchment, and it worked well.
        The Long-Suffering Husband ate all that was left of the cake. Every time I turned around, another slice was gone πŸ™‚

      • Super glad the LSH enjoyed! (He doesn’t too badly for a long suffering one..) I have two springform pans and one is a wee bit bigger than the other and it doesn’t rise quite as much in that one. Probably a combo of the two things. Talking about cake is making me hungry!

      • Me too! But there is no cake left. Sigh.
        You are too right about the LSH. In my opinion he doesn’t have it so bad. But everyone feels so very sorry for him because of my CH crush. Even CH felt sorry for him!! I introduced him as the Long Suffering Husband, and CH said, “God help you.” Then he apologized, but still. I laugh every time I think about that.

      • That is hilarious! Did you keep it together or swoon when you met The Man Himself? (If you fainted in front of the LSH I may feel a teeny bit sorry for him…)

      • There was no swooning and I was able to have a coherent conversation with him. It was actually very good for me because I understood that he’s just a person like anyone else. (Sort of. There is definite swoon potential when he looks into your eyes…) The funny part was that I had vertigo from an ear infection, so I was deathly afraid I was going to fall over onto him and be branded a nutter stalker woman. Thank heavens I managed to stay upright πŸ™‚

      • A good grounding to see that he is (mostly) just a bloke and human! Lord, thank goodness you fought off the vertigo. How ’embarrassment’ would have been! πŸ™‚

      • Yes, he is a mensch, as they say, a very kind and decent soul. I was so happy to discover that he’s not an asshole πŸ™‚ Though maybe that would have cured me!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s