Serves 12 – 14
This is a decadently rich gluten free chocolate cake based on a recipe from New Zealand chef, Annabelle Langbein. It is moist and delicious for morning tea or as a dessert and keeps well. Serve with plenty of whipped cream.
150g dark chocolate (Whittaker’s 72% Cocoa Dark Ghana), chopped
100g Whittaker’s Kaitaia Fire Chili Dark Chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons brandy
2 tablespoons strong, hot black coffee
250g butter, chopped
1 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1¾ cups ground almonds
6 eggs, separated
Preheat the oven to 170°C or 150°C fan bake. Line the base of a 23cm diameter cake tin with baking paper.
Combine chocolate, brandy and coffee in a large bowl and melt very slowly in the microwave in 1minute bursts on defrost power, stirring after each burst to help melt the chocolate. Add butter, sugar and vanilla and stir until butter has melted. (Zap again on defrost power if necessary). Stir in ground almonds. Lightly beat the egg yolks and stir into the chocolate mixture.
Place egg whites in a large, clean bowl and beat until they hold firm peaks. Stir a big spoonful of beaten egg white into the chocolate mixture to loosen it and then gently fold in the rest of the egg whites until no white streaks remain.
Spoon into the prepared tin and bake until risen and set (40-50 minutes). The cake will still be a little gooey in the centre. It may look a little cracked as it develops a crust and is quite fragile, but this is to be expected.
Cool completely in the tin, then transfer to a serving plate. Ice with chocolate ganache (see recipe below) and garnish with chocolate shavings, if using. It will keep in an airtight container for more than a week and freezes well.
Makes 2 cups
250g Whittaker’s 72% Cocoa Dark Ghana chocolate, chopped
Pour the cream into a medium pot and heat it until it is almost but not quite boiling. You’ll know it’s ready when bubbles start to form around the edge of the pot. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Stand for 2 minutes, then stir until the chocolate is fully melted into the cream. Whisk until smooth and glossy. Be patient and keep stirring, it will come together.
The ganache thickens as it cools, so if necessary, pop it in the fridge until it thickens to your preferred consistency before using it. If you’re not using the ganache straight away, store it in a covered jar in the fridge for up to two weeks. When you’re ready to serve it, gently warm in a pot or microwave to soften.
Stand the cake on a rack over a bowl slightly larger than the diameter of the cake, so that you can collect the drips. Gently pour the ganache onto the top and edges of the cake and use a pallet knife to spread it evenly to the edge and over the sides of the cake. Using your pallet knife at a 90° angle to the base of the cake, swipe the knife confidently around the sides of the cake to get a smooth edge.
Leave the ganache to thicken a bit before very carefully moving the iced cake to a serving dish. Run your pallet knife underneath the bottom of the edge for a sharp finish. Decorate the top of the cake with whole dried red chilies and holly or rosemary for a festive, Christmassy look.