Sandy and I were much in need of some cake-y indulgence today, but because there was no one here to share (the children abominate most cake, and our planned weekend visitor postponed because of the snow), I thought it best to try out a mini-cake that wont hang around for too long and get in the way of my depressing, but necessary, ‘no cake on a weekday’ rule.
I thought of chocolate cake because I had some 85% Divine chocolate left over from Christmas. I have made this recipe from Linda Collister’s book Heavenly Chocolate (worth buying for the chocolate mousse recipe alone) in its full size, several times, and thought I would have a go at a half size version. You can’t do this with many cake recipes, but it worked really well this time round.
I love the combination of almond and chocolate, infused with the flavour of cardamon. It is really delicious served warm with cream or creme frâiche (or some whipped double cream lightened with a couple of spoonfuls of natural yogurt), or cold on its own with a good cup of coffee. In fact, the use of cardamon brings a real Scandinavian note that makes this cake very suitable for a Swedish-style Fika.
This version of the recipe makes a mini-cake that’s about 14cm across – I reckon that’s about 6 generous slices. I don’t think we can eat it all today (!) but S can finish it off (when I am out of the room, of course) over the next couple of days. If you want to make the full size version of this recipe, just double each of the ingredients and use a 20cm cake tin, baking the finished mix for somewhere between 45 minutes to an hour.
Chocolate Cardamon Cake
100g plain chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids), chopped into small pieces
2 large eggs
100g caster sugar
50g soft butter
50g ground almonds
2 cardamon pods
35g plain flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
14cm cake tin, greased and base lined.
- Preheat oven to 180C, Gas mark 4 (lower by 20 degrees if you have a fan oven).
- Slowly melt the chocolate in a large bowl perched on top of a pan of barely simmering water – ensure the water does not boil and that the bowl does not touch the water. Remove from the heat and leave the chocolate to cool until it is barely warm.
- Meanwhile separate the eggs, putting the yolks to one side and putting the whites in a bowl ready to be whisked later on.
- Next prepare the cardamon by carefully splitting the pods and removing the black seeds from inside. Discard the pods and crush the seeds with a pestle and mortar, or with the side of a heavy knife on a chopping board.
- Once the chocolate has cooled, stir in the yolks very very gently (it will thicken, don’t worry), then add the sugar, butter, almonds, flour, baking powder, and the crushed black cardamon seeds.
- Now whisk the egg whites into stiff peaks, then fold them into the chocolate mix in 3 or 4 batches.
- Transfer the mix to your prepared cake tin and bake for 30-35 minutes.
- The cake is done when the sponge springs back when lightly pressed with your finger.
- Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Sprinkle with icing sugar, if you like, when it’s cool.
Eat and enjoy!