"You have to try the apple cannele at Le Pain Quotidien!" my friend and colleague exclaimed one Monday morning when I got to work. "Better yet, put together a recipe and we'll bake it together!"
My foodie friends often do this: they'll come across a treat they think is just exquisite, call me up, describe it in great length, and finish by saying, "You should make it!" It's sweet that they have such an appreciation for my baking skills; yet I sometimes suspect they think my talents know no bounds.
But back to the apple cannele. My friend and I had been talking for some time about devoting a Friday afternoon to baking at my apartment. She described the apple cannele for me: sweet yet not cloyingly so, moist like a custard yet light, not dense. I was sold.
I set to work in search of a recipe that could inspire me. I came across review after review of enthusiastic fans of LPQ's apple cannele. Then, a blog post with a recipe for one. The author described the cannele as temperamental, fickle even. That didn't deter me. What did, though, was the suggestion for the batter, once made, to be refrigerated for 48 hours prior to baking. Which meant that my friend would only be there for the baking. Not really what we had in mind.
So instead, we settled for a flourless chocolate cake, another one of my friend's recent favorite desserts. We found a Gourmet magazine recipe that looked promising. After we baked it, we served it with a dusting of cocoa powder and some whipped cream. When we tasted it, we realized we hadn't settled at all. The cake was dense and moist and, surprisingly, really quick and easy to make (the recipe was fail-proof, in my opinion). Easily the best flourless chocolate cake I've ever tasted. And best of all: it's a chocolate treat that even those on a gluten-free diet can indulge in. It's a deep-dark slice of decadence you'll want to sink your teeth into.
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder plus additional for sprinkling
or until top has formed a thin crust. Cool cake in pan on a rack 5 minutes and invert onto a serving plate.
Dust cake with additional cocoa powder and serve with sorbet if desired. (Cake keeps, after being cooled completely, in an airtight container, 1 week.)