There are some people you always associate with certain foods. My mother makes a mean lasagne, my auntie’s strawberry mousse is better than birthday cake and Dad’s beef stroganoff is the best in the business.
For one of my oldest chums the recipe most associated with me (and one she constantly nags me to bake) is a richer than rich chocolate cake. It’s not what I’d call a signature bake – I made it once and she fell in love, but after years of begging (literally) and considering she’d cooked me some delicious dinners I owed her one. There’s no flour in the recipe and the ground almonds set off the rich chocolate flavour without being overpoweringly nutty. It doesn’t need a ganache but my friend did say it added an extra bit of luxury, admitting she missed it this time around. Lesson learned – sometimes, more is more!
- 160g dark chocolate (70 – 80%)
- 160g cold unsalted butter, diced
- 160g ground almonds
- 120g caster sugar
- 4 eggs, separated
Grease and line a 23cm cake tin
Preheat the oven to 180C
- Break up the chocolate and place it in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water
- Allow it to melt slowly, once smooth turn off the heat (but leave the pan there) and drop in the cold butter – let it melt a little bit before you stir then leave to sit until it melts completely before stirring again.
- Meanwhile, separate the eggs and whisk the whites until they form soft peaks, add caster sugar and stir until the peaks begin to stiffen.
- Stir the butter into the chocolate until smooth and glossy.
- Whisk the egg yolks into the melted chocolate and butter one at a time.
- Fold the whisked egg whites and sugar into the chocolate mix, very gently until just incorporated.
- Finally fold in the almonds light-handedly, keeping as much air in the mixture as possible.
Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for 25 – 30 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Allow to cool in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
To make a simple chocolate ganache use equal parts chocolate and cream. Chop the chocolate finely, heat the cream until nearly boiling but not quite then pour over the chopped chocolate whisking until smooth. Leave to thicken slightly before using.