For the past three years, I have celebrated Healthy Green Kitchen’s birthday by dedicating a post to the occasion each May. I am not sure how it happened, but somehow I let last month go by without any sort of fanfare :(

I hope you’re ok with me making up for that now by sharing a flourless chocolate cake recipe. I’d also like to share some thoughts on what this particular blog birthday means to me. So here goes.

In previous blog birthday posts, I have written about how much I treasure my readers. This absolutely still holds true: I would have given up on blogging long ago were it not for all of you!

I have also reflected upon the friends I’ve made through blogging, and these continue to enhance my life in countless ways. I often spend time on the phone and/or hanging out in person with many amazing people I would never have met were it not for this blog (and I hope to meet many more of you in the future); I am beyond grateful for having you all in my life.

This year in blogging hasn’t been exactly like the others, though. It’s been even better! Here’s why:

This was the year I finally stopped comparing myself to other bloggers and accepted embraced the way I write, take photos, “do” social media, etc. I stopped worrying about whether or not I am as good at this stuff as someone else. All in all, this was the year I really got comfortable with my blog. It was the year I feel like I actually settled in.

I believe it’s worth noting, because it’s definitely related, that this was also the year I finally got comfortable with myself. I am almost 43 and it feels good to say that. Also? I wrote a book this year! It feels good to say that, too.

This cake comes from a new cookbook I absolutely adore called The Surf Cafe Cookbook: Cooking and Surfing on the West Coast of Ireland.

I received a review copy of the book and have found it to be tremendously pleasing to the eye. Also: the writing is relaxed and fun, and the recipes within are delicious. I think you will love it, too.

I have made a few recipes from the book thus far but the one I want to share today is, of course, this flourless chocolate cake. I’ll give you fair warning: if you love chocolate, this cake may spoil you for all other chocolate desserts. Yes, it is that good: my husband said it’s one of the best things I ever made. And I make a lot of things!

Please know that these photos don’t come close to doing the cake justice. I was hell bent on slicing the cake right when it came out of the oven so I could eat some, but I don’t actually recommend doing that. The recipe suggests waiting as long as a day to slice the cake, and I am going to do that next time I bake it. If you slice it too soon, it’s still crazy good, but it’s really, really soft…almost like a chocolate lava cake. It really firms up if you allow it to cool completely before stuffing it in your mouth.

Recipe for Flourless Chocolate Cake

Yield: serves 8-10

This cake is perfect for all chocolate lovers, including those who don't eat wheat or other grains. Serve topped with the optional dark chocolate ganache (recipe below) and raspberry sorbet as the authors suggest, or skip the ganache and dust with powdered sugar, like I did. Ice cream also makes a lovely accompaniment: I recommend vanilla or an intensely-flavored (preferably fair-trade) coffee one.

You will find my comments about the ingredients and the recipe itself in parentheses below.

Ingredients:

For the cake:

*300g (1 1/3 cups) good quality dark chocolate (I'd generally go for fair-trade, but this time I used Jacques Torres dark chocolate, which I received as a gift, and which is amazing)
*300g (1 1/3 cups) unsalted butter (butter from pastured cows is my choice)
*300g (1 1/3 cups) caster sugar (I used organic, fair-trade sugar)
*150g (3/4 cup) unsweetened organic cocoa powder (I used raw cacao powder)
*6 farm-fresh, pastured eggs (I actually used only 5)

For the ganache topping (optional):

*250g (1 cup) chocolate
*100ml (1/2 cup) cream (preferably raw, but at the very least not ultra-pasteurized)
*25g (1/4 stick) butter

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.

2. Start by melting the 300g (1 1/3 cups) chocolate and butter together until soft and silky, either in a double boiler or microwave. In a separate bowl mix the sugar, eggs, and cocoa powder; fold in the buttery chocolate mix and stir until it all comes together.

3. Pour into your favorite oiled cake tin (I used a buttered 8-inch springform pan). Place this tin in another deep dish, which you will now fill with hot water so that you can bake the cake evenly in a water bath. (I wrapped the bottom of my springform pan in foil before placing it in the water bath.)

4. Carefully place this into the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes depending on your oven and the thickness of your tins (in the springform pan, my cake actually took 90 minutes to bake because it was so thick!).

5. When baked, let the cake rest awhile; often the cake is better the next day.

6. You can add any frosting you like (or do what I did: dust it with powdered sugar) but we like to smother this cake with rich chocolate ganache and toasted almonds.

7. To make the ganache melt together the 250g (1 cup) of chocolate and 25 g (1 stick) of butter, then stir in the cream. You will notice the consistency change to a thick chocolate goo. Spread this evenly onto the cooled cake and then lick the bowl, spreading chocolate goo all over your face, hair, and new top (is that pretty much the best sentence you've seen in a recipe or what??)

8. Top the cake with your favorite toasted nuts like almonds, walnuts, or hazelnuts, or go mad with some glazed fruits for color.