Flourless Chocolate Cake Debrief

I talked a lot about flourless cake technique two weeks ago when I put up the project, so most of this ground has been covered…save to say the choice of pans, which is important. My first time out buying a springform pan I went with a cheapie $9 special I found in the closeout bin at the (now defunkt) Marshall Field’s on State Street in Chicago. It was a shiny aluminum job with a latch on it just like any other. The metal was a little thin, but hey, all these things are alike right?

As it turned out, no. Forgetting that for much of what goes into a sprinform pan (cheesecakes aside) the bottom becomes the top, I neglected the little stippled pattern on the bottom inside surface of the pan. For many months after, all my home-made flourless cakes bore those telltale marks. Hey look! Joe made a flourless chocolate cake again! I also failed to notice a little crease that ran all the way around the inside edge (this one has one, see?) which had the effect of blunting the gorgeous, razor sharp edge that’s the hallmark of a well-made flourless.

It was also as I mentioned shiny, which believe it or not really does make a difference in bakware. Any pan you bake cake in should be that sort of neutral gray color that you see most good bakeware sporting. Why? Because it’s not black, a color which absorbs heat energy, and can lead to overly crispy, dare I say burnt, ends and edges. It’s also not shiny, or should I say, reflective. I know what you’re thinking: but how much can reflectivity matter in an oven. I mean, it’s dark in there!. Oh ho, but heat energy and light obey many of the same rules, which is why, if the top of your pie is perfect but the fruit filling hasn’t gelled, you put a nice shiny tin foil hat on it. It bounces enough heat energy back into the oven to keep the top from burning while the interior finishes. But an all-shiny cake pan does indeed reflect too much heat, causing uneven results.

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