It’s not really his fault: Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate Cloud Cake is an attention grabber. Fresh out of the oven it looks like a regular chocolate cake. It is a bit cracked on top, but nothing out of the ordinary. As time passes, however, the crack spreads and deepens, eventually taking with it the entire top of the cake as it sinks several centimeters. The outer edge of the cake is left standing, so what you end up with is a bowl made out of chocolate cake.
A lesser person might have been disappointed if they had created a cake that sinks, every single time. Not Nigella. Instead, she filled it with softly whipped cream and called it a chocolate cloud cake. Genius, I say.
As if that weren’t enough, this cake is astoundingly easy to make too. The only possibly intimidating step, the whipping of egg whites (or is it just me who lives in fear of non-stiffening whites?) is made foolproof by the admonition to whip them until they hold their shape but are not stiff. Ha! Whipped whites that don’t require that test where you hold a bowl of eggy peaks over your head to test their stiffness. Or are you not supposed to take that seriously?
Left-overs of this beauty keep pretty well in the fridge. They lose their ethereal lightness, but gain a pleasant fudginess. Probably not a great dessert for a dinner party, but excellent as a tea-time treat or breakfast. (Not that I eat chocolate cake for breakfast, of course. I am just guessing. Or not…)
Chocolate cloud cake
Adapted slightly from Nigella Bites, Nigella Lawson
250 gr dark chocolate
125 gr unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
6 eggs: 2 whole, 4 separated
175 gr caster sugar
23 cm springform cake tin
250 ml whipped cream
150 ml Greek yogurt
Preheat the oven to 180°C and line the bottom of the cake tin with baking parchment (I use re-usable silicone baking paper).
Melt the chocolate in the microwave (start with two minutes at 600 W, stir, leave to stand for a bit, stir again and see if it needs another microwave blast). Mix in the butter until melted.
Beat the 2 whole eggs and 4 egg yolks with 75 gr of the caster sugar, then gently add the chocolate mixture.
In another bowl, whisk the 4 egg whites until foamy, then gradually add the 100 gr of sugar and whisk until the whites hold their shape but are not too stiff.
Mix a dollop of egg whites into the chocolate, and then fold in the rest of the whites. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 35–40 minutes or until the cake is risen and cracked and the centre is no longer wobbly. Cool the cake in its tin on a wire rack.
When you are ready to eat, place the cake on a cake stand or plate for serving while it is still in its tin and carefully remove the tin. Mix the whipped cream with the yogurt and whip some more until the mixture is firm.
Fill the crater of the cake with the yogurty whipped cream, gently swirling your spoon or spatula to create alluring waves