125g unsalted butter, cubed
360g good-quality dark chocolate, roughly chopped
5 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
165g caster sugar
4 teaspoons gluten-free cornflour
40ml Pedro Ximénez or strong espresso coffee
generous pinch of salt
Dutch (unsweetened) cocoa powder, to dust (optional)

At once soothing and decadent, this cake is a true therapy cake. I make it when I’m tired and when I’m feeling low. I make it when there’s cause for celebration and to share with friends. And sometimes I make it just because it’s a chocolate cake kind of day. It’s a crackly, rich, gluten-free number for times when only an intense cocoa hit will do. Aesthetically unassuming, it is rather refined in the eating. Slice and serve with thick cream or just dive in with a spoon. No judgement here.


View the recipe collection here



1.Preheat the oven to 170°C fan-forced.
2.Grease a 22cm round springform tin with butter and line the base and side with baking paper.
3.Place the butter and chocolate in a small saucepan over very low heat.
4.Stir constantly until both the butter and chocolate have melted and the mixture is smooth.
5.You can do this in a double boiler if you like – I’m just lazy and find a small saucepan works just as well, as long as the heat is low and you remember to stir it!
6.Take the pan off the heat and allow to cool.
7.Combine the egg yolks, vanilla and half the sugar in a large mixing bowl and whisk well to combine.
8.Whisk in the cornflour, then the cooled chocolate and Pedro Ximénez or coffee, and mix until smooth.
9.Place the egg whites and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment and whisk to soft peaks.
10.Add the remaining sugar, a tablespoon at a time, mixing well after each addition, and continue to whisk until the egg whites are glossy and hold firm peaks.
11.Add about one-third of the meringue to the chocolate mixture and whisk thoroughly to combine.
12.Add the remaining meringue, in two batches, folding it through gently with a spatula, trying not to knock too much air out of the egg whites.
13.Pour the batter into the tin and gently spread it out using a spatula.
14.Bake in the oven for 30–35 minutes, or until cake has souffléd and formed a crust, but is still a bit wobbly underneath – you don’t want to overcook it as it will continue to cook as it cools.
15.Allow the cake to cool completely in the tin. It will deflate and sink as it cools, giving it a lovely, crackly, rustic top.
16.Dust the cake with cocoa powder (if using) and serve at room temperature for a mousse-like texture, or refrigerate and serve cold for a more dense, fudgy result.
17.Store any leftover cake in an airtight container in the fridge for 2–3 days.

Images and text
from The Plain Cake
Appreciation Society
by Tilly Pamment,
photography by Tilly
Pamment. Murdoch
Books, RRP $45.