Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Chocolate Stormcloud Cake

Above Le Chateau du Boulanger the sky was black and the air thick with menace. As I retired to the kitchen the light whisper of rain had become a vicious rasp, thrashing against the windows and seemingly hell bent on clawing its way inside. My mood was one of mischief and my intention, to create a cake as dark and as unbridled as the night outside. What resulted was this. This unashamedly adult chocolate cake, using deep dark chocolate, bitter black coffee and roasted hazelnuts. This rapscalion of a chocolate cake, so rich and indulgent that but a sliver is enough to not merely seduce, but completely debauch. Quite simply put you must make this cake.

Prep time: 30 Mins
Baking time: 35 Mins
100g Dark (70-80%) Chocolate
120g Unsalted Butter
4 Large Eggs (Separated)
200g Caster Sugar
1tsp Vanilla Extract
3tbsp Black Coffee (At room temperature)
100g Roasted Hazelnuts (Chopped)
3tbsp Plain Flour

Icing sugar (To dust)

I concede that this one does require a variety of equipment, bowls and processes but fear not, the cake is a joy in its preparation.

Begin by melting together the chocolate and the butter. This can be done in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water (known as a bain-marie) or in the microwave if you are confident in your timings. Once the chocolate and butter are melted together sit to one side to cool for ten minutes. Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3, grease a 23cm springform tin and line the base with baking paper. Add the egg yolks, caster sugar, vanilla and black coffee to a large mixing bowl and whisk by hand. Add the chocolate mixture and continue whisking until evenly combined. Using a mini-chopper blitz the nuts until roughly ground and just starting to release their oil, then tip into a small bowl and stir through the plain flour.

In a fresh, very clean bowl whisk the egg whites until stiff and holding their shape. Add a third of the egg whites to the chocolate mixture and fold through gently to combine. Add a third of the nuts/flour and do the same, then repeat for the other two thirds until you are left with a velvety batter studded with tiny flecks of ground nuts. Carefully pour the mixture into your prepared tin and bake in the centre of the oven for around 35 minutes, until the top has started to crack and a metal skewer comes out slightly sticky when inserted into the middle of the cake. When you are happy it is baked removed from the oven, leave in the tin for 60 minutes, then carefully remove from the tin and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.

When the cake is cool place in a sealed container and chill in the fridge for at least 60 minutes prior to serving. I find this gives the cake an incredibly rich and fudgy texture. Finish with a dusting of icing sugar.

This one is an absolutely filthy cake so why not go all the way and break out the thick double cream!

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