DISH | The TIBS Guide to Desserts: a review + flourless chocolate cake

flourless chocolate cake

For many of you when I mention TIBS – no not TIMS – I know what immediately comes to mind. And it’s sure as hell not a double double. It’s some of the best coffee in the city roasted right here in Dartmouth. Perhaps even more so, it’s those massive, butter packed, incredibly decadent croissants.

With a sold out display case on the regular, locals have embraced the buttery treats as if it was the last time they’d ever get their hands on one. Whether it’s the straight up plain, crunchy almond, pain au chocolate, salty prosciutto provolone or one of the crazy weekly concoctions, one thing’s for sure: size matters. The ridiculously large baked goods at TIBS have won us over. Suffice it to say, when Tara MacDonald, the genius behind the croissant empire, released a cookbook full of TIBS baking secrets, it was bound to be popular. The TIBS Guide to Desserts includes recipes for some of usual cafe line up as well as desserts inspired by TIBS Family Dinners though you won’t find croissants. Hey, if that was my wildly successful croissant recipe, I’d keep it locked up too. 

Starting with an introduction to both Tara and the man behind the coffee Zane, The TIBS Guide to Desserts butters you up with it’s personal approach. In fact, Tara’s personality is evident on every single page. Couple that with step by step photographs and this is one cookbook perfect to warm over even the weariest of bakers. “Be the Baker!”

Since I partake in TIBS baked goods more regular than I’d like to admit, no scone or cookie was going to entice me. It was the decadent flourless chocolate cake that caught my eye. After several times using other flourless chocolate cake recipes that involved beating the egg whites and yolks separately then carefully folding it all together, Tara’s simplified version was void of all that. This was my kind of recipe. 

Never one to follow the rules, especially in the kitchen, I went ahead and put my own stamp on it, doubling the chocolate and using semi-sweet in place of the milk chocolate. If you have a high quality chocolate like the Callebaut used exclusively at TIBS, then go ahead and stick with the original amount. But if you like your chocolate a bit more intense like this dark chocolate afficianado, go nuts. I say the more the better when it comes to chocolate. The recipe below is also doubled and I highly recommend you follow suit. I don’t know about you but I’ll take a thick fudgy chocoholics dream over a thin version any day. I also covered that bad boy in sweet, slightly tart pomegranate seeds. It pretty much blew our minds. 

Like Tara warns, don’t be alarmed if your cake drops after you cool it or even cracks like mine. It’s every bit as delicious as any perfect looking cake out there. It’s rustic, also known as real. For the original recipe and other decadent desserts, get your copy at one of a number of locations around the Maritimes. Better yet, make haste to TIBS for your copy because if there’s one thing this book will do, it’s bring on the sugar cravings. Hello chocolate croissant. Is it me you’re looking for?

flourless chocolate cake-7 decadent flourless chocolate cake covered in sweet pomegranate seeds, all lightly dusted with icing sugar

flourless chocolate cake
Serves 12
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  1. 1 bag (300 g) semisweet chocolate chips
  2. 1 cup butter
  3. 1 1/2 cup sugar
  4. 6 eggs
  5. 1/2 cup cocoa
  6. 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  7. icing sugar
  8. 1/2 pomegranate
  1. Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 9 - 10" springform pan with butter.
  2. In a bowl set atop a pot of simmering water, melt the butter and chocolate. Add the salt.
  3. Add the sugar to a large mixing bowl. Pour the melted chocolate on top and whisk well to combine. Add in the eggs, whisking well to incorporate. (One note, if your chocolate mixture is still crazy hot, let it cool slightly and add in the eggs slowly while whisking. You do not want little bits of cooked egg in there.) Fold in the cocoa and stir until just combined.
  4. Bake 45 min until the cake is almost set. A toothpick inserted into the centre shouldn't one out clean but it shouldn't look like batter either. Underbaking is a good thing with this cake but you want to still ensure the centre is cooked.
  5. Let cool completely before removing from pan. Serve with a dusting of icing sugar and pomegranate seeds. Alternatively, serve with berries and/or whipped cream.
Adapted from TIBS Guide to Desserts, Tara MacDonald
Adapted from TIBS Guide to Desserts, Tara MacDonald

1 Comment

  • January 21, 2014


    You speak so casualy of this blackened midnight affair with flavour spritzers popping in your mouth. Teasing and taunting you again and again. You don’t even mention that it makes your back curl forward like some primitive animalistic reation to closeness. It bows your head down with each bite of it’s haunting rich chocolate, you can’t even believe what your experiencing but yet you continue to. It is real, you keep saying it but yet it’s still too hard to accept. Then, like mini fireworks, they burst into your mouth showering it with bright flavour waves then fade away again into the deep darkness of the chocolate. I was not the only one there that day. I was not the only one to praise it in all it’s glory. I was not the only one to proclaim that it is the essence of chocolate perfection.