Here's one of those heavenly warm, dense chocolate cakes that is very light, surprisingly low in fat and much easier to make than you might think. Cocoa delivers a rich, chocolatey flavour with less fat than plain chocolate. A dollop of mock whipped cream spiked with cherry brandy adds a delightful touch to each slice of cake.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and line a 9-in. (23-cm) round cake pan (2 in./5 cm deep) with parchment paper. Sift the flour, 1⁄4 cup (50 mL) of the granulated sugar, the cocoa and salt onto a piece of wax paper.
Using an electric mixer on high, beat the egg whites in a clean, grease-free large bowl until soft peaks form. With the mixer running, beat in the remaining 1⁄4 cup (50 mL) of the granulated sugar, 1 tbsp (15 mL) at a time, and the vanilla extract. Keep beating until the egg whites are glossy and smooth, and stand up in stiff peaks.
Sift the flour-cocoa mixture over the egg whites and fold in gently with a wire whisk until the flour disappears. Do not overmix. Using a rubber spatula, lift the batter into the pan. Smooth out the surface, mound-ing it slightly in the center, then sprinkle the cherries evenly over the top of the cake.
Bake the cake until the cake has risen and is just firm to the touch yet still moist on top, about 25 minutes (a toothpick inserted into the center should come out with moist crumbs). Transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool slightly.
Sprinkle the icing sugar over the cake before serving. If you wish to serve with the mock whipped cream, blend together all of the ingredients and serve each slice of the warm cake with a generous spoonful.
Each serving provides: calories 195, calories from fat 9, fat 1 g, saturated fat 0 g, cholesterol 0 mg, carbohydrate 42 g, fibre 3 g, sugars 23 g, protein 6 g.
Choices per serving: Carbohydrate 2 1⁄2