Seriously rich chocolate cake

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This is not a cake that will win any beauty pageants, but it certainly delivers on flavour. It is also very trendy, as it is gluten-free, provided you do not flour the tin before pouring in the mixture. Instead, you can take the lazy route and use baking paper to line the tin, as I always do.

I found this recipe (again) at the wonderful BBC goodfood website. I normally do not read comments on websites of any sort, as anonymity of the Web unveils all sorts of stupid in people, but I made an exception in this website—the users are interested in baking, and therefore must be wonderful. But more important than my good faith in the baking community is the curiosity to see why the cake has only 4 stars, and I consider it one of the easiest and tastiest desserts ever.

One of the commenters said the cake tasted soapy; must have put some coriander in there. One said that you really need the best chocolate you can afford, and I fully agree with this; otherwise, you will complain that the cake is bland like some of the other commenters.

I will copy the recipe here from the BBC goodfood website. The one thing I changed was that I omitted kirsch; it is OK without it, but from some other attempts I know that kirsch gives it that certain je ne sais quoi. Sometimes I add a few dollops of various jams (either raspberry, sour cherry, blueberry, or strawberry) before putting to bake, so you get a small fruity surprise while eating.

This is great served with whipped cream, even better with fresh home-made vanilla ice cream. Since we are in the middle of the summer, I opted for a bit of an unusual pairing: I made lime-flavoured frozen yogurt.

Ingredients

100g butter, diced, plus extra for greasing
flour, for dusting
140g best-quality dark chocolate, with 70% cocoa solids, broken into pieces
6 large eggs, separated
140g ground almonds
1 tbsp kirsch or Cointreau (optional)
pinch of salt
85g caster sugar
cocoa powder and crème fraîche or whipped cream, or ice cream, to serve

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 170C/Gas 3/fan oven 150C. Grease a 23cm/9in springform cake tin and line the base with greaseproof paper or baking parchment. Dust the sides with a little flour. Put the chocolate and butter into a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water. Heat until melted, then remove the bowl from the pan and stir until smooth. Leave for about 5 minutes to cool slightly.

2. Mix the egg yolks, ground almonds, and the liqueur, if using. Pour in the molten chocolate mixture and fold to incorporate completely. Put the egg whites into a large bowl, add a pinch of salt and whisk until soft peaks form. Continue whisking, sprinkling in the sugar a little at a time, until stiff peaks form. Stir 2 tablespoons of the whites into the chocolate mixture, then carefully fold in the remainder until no traces of white are left.

3. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 30-35 minutes until well risen and just firm to the touch. Cool in the tin (don’t worry if the cake sinks and cracks slightly – it will still be fine). You can make the cake up to this stage up to four days ahead and keep it in an airtight container in a cool place. It also freezes well for up to one month.

4. To serve, remove the cake from the tin and peel away the lining paper. Sift cocoa powder liberally over the top and cut into slices. Serve with crème fraîche or whipped cream, or ice cream.

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