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Tuesday 2010-04-27


My all-purpose chocolate-and-nut cake recipe (which I'm posting because someone asked me for it). It's a slight variation on the one at the end of Nigel Slater's Appetite, which in turn is a slight variation on someone else's.

The recipe is pretty much infinitely malleable; I've never made it quite the same way twice. It's pretty hard to make it not work. The numbers here are what I did the last time I made it.

Toast 200–250g of hazelnuts and almonds (whatever proportion you prefer) lightly; maybe 8 minutes in the oven at 180°C. Let them cool, then chop them up into whatever size bits you prefer along with 250g good dark chocolate.

Soften 250g butter (I just put it in the microwave at very low power for a few minutes) and beat it up with 250g of sugar (some combination of demerara and light or dark brown soft; I usually use more of the former) until pale and fluffy. I'm usually pretty lax about getting it really fluffy, and it works fine.

Add 4 large eggs one by one, beating each one in.

Add 3–4tbsp amaretto and stir in.

Measure out 170g plain flour and 100g ground almonds; add 2tsp (rounded) of baking powder. Sift them into the mixture if you can be bothered; I usually just weigh them out and dump them in. Fold them in.

Stir in most of the chocolate and nuts; leave out 2–3tbsp.

Put it into a lined cake tin of suitable size (say 23cm), preferably one of those with a spring-clip side and a removable base.

Sprinkle the rest of the chocolate and nuts on top, along with another 2tsp demerara sugar.

Bake at 170°C for 70 minutes.

You may need to adjust the cooking temperature and time for your oven. Mine is fan-assisted and runs about 10°C hot, and I more often overdo than underdo this cake.

I usually make this with Green & Black's chocolate: some combination of their 85% dark and their "Maya Gold" (55% or thereabouts; quite orangey).

Slater's recipe has coffee where I have amaretto; his source has milk; I'm sure you could use brandy or Grand Marnier or even water.