A Rather Serious Cake
This is a recipe that I use at home when I have friends coming for dinner. It is one for the chocolate lovers, and I usually classify this as an adult only pudd due to the fact that there is never any leftover for anyone else once I have started to dish it out. Saying that, it is very versatile and can be changed and adapted to the occasion, if you want it to be an afternoon cake for tea then it can be. It will last for three days or more, but I think you will find, the urge to have a sneaky slice every so often with a cup of coffee, means that it won’t last longer than a day or two.
Bake at 180 degrees
200g Blanched Hazelnuts
200g Dark Chocolate
6 Eggs, separated
3 Tbls Milk (or hazelnut milk)
100g White Chocolate cut into small chunks
3 tsp Instant Espresso powder or coffee powder
100ml double cream
First, butter or oil a 9inch deep cake tin and line the base with grease proof paper. Roast the hazelnuts in the oven until they brown slightly, leave to cool and then put through the KitchenAid Blender until they have broken down, when it looks like coarse sand it is ready to go. Don’t worry if there are a few odd bigger pieces, it all adds to the lovely texture of the cake.
Put the chocolate and the butter into a heat proof bowl, and stand at the back of the AGA to gently melt. Leave to one side to cool while you whisk the eggs whites into stiff peaks. Next, put the egg yolks into a bowl with the sugar. I plonk the same whisk I have used on the egg whites straight into the egg yolks and sugar, no need to wash them in-between. Whisk for 5mins or until the mixture is thick and creamy.
Now it is a case of mixing everything together gently. Fold the melted chocolate and butter, with the crumbled hazelnuts, into the egg yolk and sugar. If the mixture looks a little thick then you can add 3 tbsp. of milk. Then fold the mixture into the egg whites. Once the whites are completely incorporated, pour into the cake tin and bake for 1hr in the baking oven until it has risen nicely and is cooked through. Leave to cool for 5 mins before releasing it from the cake tin. It might sink slightly, but fear not, the cake will be beautiful!
To make the topping, heat the cream in a saucepan with the instant coffee. When it is just about to simmer, pour over the white chocolate and stir until it has all melted. Leave to cool completely before mixing into the mascarpone.
Once the cake has completely cooled, spoon over the topping and serve.
During the summer, I make this cake into a sort of chocolately vicotria sponge by cutting it in half width ways and spreading a good dollop of Chantilly cream on one half. I then place the other half back on top, do another dollop of Chantilly on the top and cover with strawberries. This works with raspberries as well, or a bit of both!
I quite often have a gluten free couple around for a kitchen supper and I know they are partial to chocolate orange so I use this cake recipe and grate the zest of an orange into the mixture before putting it into the oven. For the topping or filling, grate one more orange zest into some double cream and icing sugar, whisk to form soft peaks and spread over the cake. If you fancy a bit of decorating then do some candied orange slices in the bottom of your AGA and dress the top of your cake with them.
A cake by Loopey Foulkes
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