Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Good Tempered Chocolate Cake

Its been quiet here for too long now.  In some strange twist of fate both I and my computer have managed to contract some kind of strange virus which has knocked me flat for this past week....I have spent a long time wondering if it is possible to contract a human virus from a computer (I  think highly possible!), but anyway I am back now at my old haunt with what seems to be a lightening quick computer at my disposal.

School is out, the children are climbing the walls and bookcases and need organised activity for the entirety of the day, everyday.  As a result I am worn out and have been seeking solace in this divinely rich and delicious chocolate cake. Not another chocolate cake I hear you groan, but out of all the chocolate cake recipes I have tried, this is by far the best.  It is very versatile and I am certain it will amaze anyone who happened to be lucky enough to pop in for coffee and would most definitely suffice as an elegant end to any dinner party, birthday celebration or simply just for the hell of it. 
I came across the recipe in Tamasin Day-Lewis's aptly named book 'Good Tempered Food'.  She attributes the recipe to Sally Edwards of the River Cafe in Taunton, Somerset.  Without flour, the body of the cake is made using ground almonds which give it a moist, rich texture and ensures that it keeps for about a week.  The recipe calls for a shot of strong coffee which might be a little off-putting for some, but my children suffered no extreme side effects (just do not indulge right before bedtime!).

I have made this chocolate cake at least four times since I posted here last, my only complaint being that my oven is reading a little hotter than it should and despite my adjustments, the top still comes out slightly darker than I would like.  I have yet to try it in the non-fan oven, so that might be a good excuse to remake it just one more time. 
Anyway, each time a dangerous and sinister-looking crack appears in the top.  To make it look prettier, I placed a paper doily on top and shook over some icing sugar.  The result being this great dichotomy between the pretty doily pattern and the violent, dark cavern that appears almost out of nowhere.


To make the cake, you will need:
  • 185g unsalted butter
  • 185g good quality dark chocolate (70%+ cocoa content)
  • 50ml freshly brewed strong coffee
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 185g unrefined caster sugar
  • 185g ground almonds/or almonds, blanched, roasted and coarsely ground

  • Preheat the oven to 190 degrees.
  • Grease the sides and base of a 25cm springform tin and line the bottom with a circle of greaseproof paper.
  • Melt the butter, chocolate and coffee in a bowl placed overa  pan of barely simmering water.
  • Place the egg yolks and sugar into an electic mixer and mix for 8-10 mins until light and fluffy.
  • While continuning to mix, add the melted butter, chocolate and coffee.
  • Stop the machine and using a metal spoon, fold in the ground almonds.
  • In a separate glass or metal bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff and peaky.
  • Spoon one large spoon of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and fold in to lighten it before folding in the rest.
  • Pour the mixture into the cake tin and place in the oven.
  • Cook for 15 minutes at 190 degrees and then turn down the oven to 170 and cook for a further 35 minutes.  A skewer will come out clean when cooked.
Take out of the oven and let it cool completely in the tin.  Remove from the tin and remove the paper from the base.
Shake with icing sugar and serve in delicate slices with creme fraiche or whipped cream and some raspberries if you have them.

I have not made another chocolate cake since and I dont think I will experiment again for a very long time - this is superb!


  1. It looks fantastic! I am eager to try! Thank you for your lovely photos and such a simple done instructions!! I love your blog! Lutta

  2. It looks great! I am eager to try! Thank you for your lovely photos and such simple written instructions! I love your blog!! Lutta