It’s no wonder that I am obsessed with chocolate to the point where my cakes, I have to admit, often tend to include chocolate in one way or another. There’s something about cooking with chocolate which makes you feel instantly happy. And as cheesy as this may sound, it’s actually true.
This cake comes from Willie Wonky’s Chocolate Factory, a book I (partly) translated for my Master’s summer project. In a nutshell, the author, Willie Harcourt-Cooze, emigrates to Venezuela with his wife and starts a chocolate business there, which he then exports to the UK. This cake reminds of the darkness and depth of the cloud forest, hence its name. If you’re as much of a chocoholic as I am, you will love it. It’s rich, intense and satisfactory, just all you need from a chocolate cake.
I have slightly adapted the recipe by making it more feasible. The cocoa bars the author produces are really expensive and can only be found in some retailers, so I decided to substitute that with a good dark chocolate with high cocoa content. Please be aware that milk chocolate here simply won’t work. You need a sturdy chocolate with plenty of cocoa inside to keep the cake in its shape.
- 200g good quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids or more) + 100g
- 250g unsalted butter
- 125g golden caster sugar + 75g
- 50g light muscovado sugar
- 6 eggs
- 100g ground almonds
- 300ml double cream
- Break the chocolate into small pieces and dice the butter. Tumble them together in a heatproof bowl and set that over a pan of simmering water. Don’t let the bowl touch the water and don’t whack up the heat to boil the water or you’ll make a mess. Melt slowly and stir occasionally until fully incorporated and glossy. Set aside and leave to cool for about 20 minutes.
- While you wait for the chocolate mixture to cool down, you can grease and line a 25cm springform tin with baking parchment.
- Once that is done, put the two sugars (muscovado + 125g of golden caster) into a bowl and mix well.
- In a bigger bowl, break the first egg and whisk using electric beaters (you can do this by hand, but it will take you ages) until foamy and pale. Slowly add some of the sugar and keep on whisking to combine. Keep on alternating one egg and the rest of the sugar mixture, beating well after each addition, until the eggs have turned into a foamy and pale mixture.
- Pre-heat the oven at 180 degree Celsius.
- Slowly pour in the chocolate mixture and add the ground almonds, then mix well until the whole egg mixture turns a dark chocolate colour.
- Pour into the greased and lined springform tin and bake for about 40 minutes. Check whether the cake is cooked through by using a skewer (or one spaghetti) and piercing the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean, then move on.
- Once the cake is cooked, take it out of the oven, leave it in the tin and put it on a cooling rack.
- While the cake cools down, you can start making the chocolate ganache, which is dead easy. Mix the remaining golden caster sugar with the double cream in a small saucepan and gently warm up, stirring occasionally, until the mixture turns a slightly golden colour.
- Take off the heat and tumble in the chocolate, broken into pieces. Leave to stand for a good 3 minutes, then stir until the chocolate is completely dissolved. Put aside and leave to cool completely.
- You will probably need a good 30 to 40 minutes for the cake and the ganache to cool down. Run a round bladed knife (a palette would do as well) around the edge of the tin to release the cake, then unmould and turn upside down on a serving platter. Peel off the baking parchment and then cover with the ganache.
- Once the cake is iced, you are better leaving it to cool completely for another good hour. Do not put into the fridge as it tends to go a bit too solid.
- The ganache can be avoided and you can simply cover the cake in dusted cocoa or icing sugar or, why not, with the grated zest of an orange.
- This is a flourless cake, the ground almonds helps binding the eggs and giving it structure.
- make sure you beat well the eggs and you don’t knock much air out when incorporating the chocolate and the ground almonds, or the cake won’t rise. With that in mind, you are better slowly pouring the chocolate near the edge of the bowl, so as to avoid weighing the eggs down in the middle.