A Rather Serious Cake

By fantastic guest chef Loopy Folkes

This is a recipe for the chocolate lovers! It can be a serious pud or a cake for afternoon tea. 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.

Ingredients

  • 200g blanched hazelnuts
  • 200g butter
  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp milk (or hazelnut milk)

Topping

  • 100g white chocolate cut into small chunks
  • 3 tsp instant espresso powder or coffee powder
  • 100ml double cream
  • 250g mascarpone

Method

First, butter or oil a 9” AGA spring form 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 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 egg whites into stiff peaks. Next, put the egg yolks into a bowl with the sugar. Whisk for 5 mins 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.

Tips

During the summer, I make this cake into a sort of chocolatey Victoria sponge by cutting it in half width ways and spreading a good dollop of Chantilly cream, place the other half back on top, do another dollop of Chantilly on the top and cover with strawberries or raspberries.

For chocolate orange lovers I use this cake recipe and rate the zest of an orange into the mixture before putting it into the oven. For the topping or filling, grate the zest of one more orange 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.

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