I’m finding the recipe introductions in this book extremely encouraging. It’s a great way to start a new bake, especially one with unfamiliar flavours and techniques. It turns out that this was going to be a roulade that was transformed into a layered cake. It’s alright if your plans are occasionally derailed mid-bake. This is how new creations are discovered!
The combination of rose water and coffee is unusual, but they are actually enjoyed together in the form of Turkish delight and coffee. Ever since reading The Chronicles of Narnia as a kid, I’ve wanted to try Turkish delight. Before this cake, I had never eaten anything with rose before. I was worried that the floral taste might be overpowering. I generally associate floral scents with soap or perfume, not cakes.
I started by roasting and candying the walnuts, then I carefully separated the eggs. My method is pretty simple here. I crack the shell on the side, then while holding the egg upright and over a bowl, I remove the top shell half and let most of the white fall into the bowl. The yolk stays in the bottom half, and I usually pass the yolk between the shell halves a few times over the bowl. Those of us who are a bit obsessive can easily get rid of the chalazae this way (the chalazae is the white stringy bit… did you know that this connects the yolk to the white? Fun fact!).
Seeing that the recipe called for quite a bit of chopped dark chocolate, I walked to my local chocolate shop and purchase the high quality baking chips with 70% cocoa. This isn’t something that I would suggest doing every day. I accidentally picked up chocolate-covered almonds, too. I’m not sure how this happened… I may have also visited this shop the day before for ice cream.
As the chocolate was melting over boiling water, I added instant coffee and was momentarily worried that the coffee pieces weren’t going to dissolve properly. They did after some vigorous stirring. Once the yolk, sugar, and chocolate were combined, I whipped the egg whites until stiff peaks formed, and the meringue was gently folded into the mixture. Baking a cake with absolutely no flour seemed like an odd concept, but the batter looked right to me. I only had 2 round cake pans, so I opted for a 2-layer cake instead of 3.
While the cake layers were in the oven, I made the cream with rose water that I found in the beauty section of a health food store. I can also use this as a perfume for special occasions! I tasted the cream to check the rose flavour, and added a bit more cream so that the rose was subtle.
I loved the look of this cake when it was finished, and it cut very easily into slices. The flourless cake tasted like a decadent brownie, and the subtle rose was perfectly distinct. The candied walnuts provided a balance to the sweet, fluffy cream and chocolate-y richness. This cake disappears quickly, particularly when eaten while watching Sara Bareilles and Josh Groban host the Tony Awards.