Chocolate, Macadamia & Coffee Torte

This is a weird cake as the sponge is made entirely from macadamia and contains no butter. The nuts are finely ground and then mixed to the other ingredients, and their natural oils provide the ‘fat’ base for the cake sponge. The final decoration really is up to you, I merely followed the recipe as in the GBBO book and experimented with feathering. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, this refers to a particular type of icing whereby a ganache is decorated with feather-like shapes, obtained by tracing horizontal lined with a darker ganache on the smooth base surface and then drawing the surface with a cocktail stick to leave a trail behind and bend the horizontal lines. The result is pretty much self-explanatory.

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Ingredients (for the sponge)

  • 200g macadamia nuts
  • 75g ground almonds
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 200g white chocolate
  • 2 yolks
  • 180g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp milk

Ingredients (for the filling)

  • 1 tbsp brandy
  • 1 tbsp instant espresso powder
  • 250g mascarpone
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar

Ingredients (for the ganache)

  • 170g white chocolate
  • 100ml double cream
  • 2 tsp brandy
  • 1 1/2 tsp instant espresso powder

Method

  1. First of all, start with the sponge. Line and grease two 20cm sandwich tins and set aside. Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
  2. Coarsely grind the macadamia nuts in a food processor until they start to clump together. Tip onto a plate lined with kitchen paper, spread out and leave to dry for about 5 minutes, then mix with the ground almonds.
  3. Melt the white chocolate over a pan of simmering water, then leave to cool.
  4. Put the 8 egg yolks (6 eggs + 2 extra yolks, remember!) into a large mixing bowl with the vanilla extract and whisk with an electric mixer (I swear by my KitchenAid) until the mixture is very thick and the whisk leaves a ribbon-like trail when lifted from the bowl. Use a big spatula to fold in the nuts, then fold in the white chocolate and milk.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff, then gently fold those in too in batches.
  6. Divide the mixture between the two tins, then bake for 35-40 minutes. Check the sponges are cooked using a skewer, then remove from the oven and leave to cool in their tins.
  7. Move on to the filling. In a mixing bowl, stir the brandy with the espresso powder until dissolved. Add the mascarpone and the icing sugar, then mix to combine. Chill until needed.
  8. Last step, the ganache. Put the white chocolate in a bowl, then heat the cream until almost boiling. Pour onto the chocolate in a thin stream, whisking constantly. When the mixture is smooth, stir in the brandy. Spoon a quarter of the mixture into a separate bowl and stir in the espresso powder. Cover both bowls and leave to cool until needed.
  9. To assemble the torte, put a small blob of the filling on the serving plate/platter, then set one of the sponge layers on top. Use the rest of the filling to cover it, then top with the other sponge layer. Once the ganache has cooled down, spread over the top of the torte and let it drip down the sides. Spoon the coffee ganache into a piping bag and snip off the end, then pipe uniform horizontal lines on the now iced surface of the cake. Using a cocktail stick, draw vertical lined across the ones made with the ganache alternating upwards and downwards movements. Leave to set until needed.

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