Darlings, it takes a lot to impress me. I mean can you imagine how many chocolate cakes have passed my lips? Crikey … One shudders to think, my poor hips are testament to indulging in such delicious sponges . So if I say that this is the best, the ultimate please believe me. I take my chocolate cake very seriously and this is indeed a very serious chocolate cake. This isn’t one suitable for a children’s party. It is not a sponge. This is for adults. The espresso equivalent . Deep, dark, rich and very decadent .
1 hour 5 minutes
300 g dark chocolate (50% cocoa solids), chopped
150 g unsalted butter, chopped
5 eggs, at room temperature, separated
55 g caster sugar, plus 75 extra
60 ml milk
110 g ground hazelnut
Unsweetened cocoa powder, to dust
125 g raspberries, to serve
Cream, to serve
Preheat the oven to 150°C/gas mark 2. Grease a round 20 centimetre spring-form cake tin and line with non-stick baking paper, extending five centimetres above the side. The collar will support the cake as it rises during cooking and then fall as it cools.
Put the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (make sure the base of the bowl doesnt touch the water). Stir occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove the bowl from the pan and set aside.
Use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment to whisk the egg whites and sugar in a clean, dry medium bowl until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
Put the eggs yolks and the extra sugar in a medium mixing bowl and use a balloon whisk to whisk until thick and pale. Whisk in the milk. Add the chocolate mixture and hazelnut meal and whisk to combine. Use a spatula or large metal spoon to fold in one-third of the egg whites until just combined. Fold in the remaining egg whites in two more batches. Spoon into the prepared tin and smooth the surface.
Bake for 45 minutes without opening the oven door. Turn the cake tin around to ensure even cooking and bake for a further 20 minutes or until the top of the cake feels set. Transfer to a wire rack and cool in the tin. Refrigerate for three hours or until well chilled.
Cut away the excess paper from around the side of the tin. Invert the cake onto a plate and remove the baking paper. Gently place a serving plate on top and turn the cake the right way up. Use a fine sieve to dust with cocoa powder. Use a sharp knife, dipped in very hot water and then dried, to cut the cake into slices. Serve accompanied by raspberries and cream, if desired.
After seeing my husband faffing around with greaseproof paper I realised that he was indeed the best man for the job.