Thanks Joanne from What’s on the List for inviting me to this week’s Foodie Friends Friday Foods That Make us Smile Party!
Decadent and delicious – that’s what this cake is. Better yet, each component is easy to make! Some cakes are light and fluffy, but this one is rich and compact.
Dark chocolate, milk, eggs, sugar – this recipe has got it all, but it’s the almond paste that is the star of the show here. You might be able to find this product in a store, but it’s easy to make your own – just pop your almonds in a food processor, add the sugar, egg whites and almond flavouring and you’re done!
And of course, the ‘strawberry stars‘ decorating the cake give a nice crowning touch to your chocolate masterpiece, with instructions given below.
But first, a friendly word of advice. I had seen a picture of this cake on the internet, with fancy swirls of chocolate icing piped onto the cake. So, I got out my pastry bag and nozzle and then piped, squeezed and swirled to my heart’s content, but to no avail. The cake just did not look good and it was too ‘finicky.’
So I remembered the words of Henry David Thoreau in Walden, “Simplify, Simplify.” I took a knife and undid all the fancy swirls of chocolate icing – I uncurled, unfurled and un-piped – I Simplified. I made this cake my own. And it looked a lot better!
You can either bake this cake in a 22 cm (9 inch) round cake pan or use several small molds. I used two small tart pans with a removable base for my cake.
To make the almond paste
2 cups blanched almonds
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 egg whites
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons almond extract (optional)
- Add the blanched almonds and sugar to a food processor and process until the mixture becomes like a fine powder.
- Add the softened butter, egg whites and almond extract and pulse until the mixture forms a ball. Wrap in plastic and place in the fridge until ready to use.
Recipe for the Almond Paste is courtesy of ‘Simply so Good’ blog.
To make the ‘Strawberry Stars‘
In the middle of the strawberry, make a small cut on the diagonal, with the knife point piercing into the center of the fruit.
Continue this zig-zag pattern all the way around the strawberry. When you have completed the pattern, separate the two halves of the strawberry.
This recipe is adapted from Le Cordon Bleu- Paris.
- Creamy Chocolate Icing
- 3 egg yolks
- 50 g sugar
- 250 ml milk
- 275 g dark chocolate, chopped
- For the Cake Batter
- 30 g butter
- 4 eggs
- 200 g almond paste
- 15 g flour
- 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tbsp. chocolate icing (from above recipe)
- 2 baking powder
- pinch salt
- Prepare the icing.
- Whisk the sugar and egg yolks together until pale and thick.
- In a separate pan, bring the milk to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and gradually stir the egg mixture into the milk, stirring continuously until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Be careful not to boil the mixture or the eggs will 'scramble.'
- Now add the chopped chocolate bits and stir until the chocolate has thoroughly melted. Refrigerate for at least one hour until the icing thickens and sets.
- Prepare the Cake Batter
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Butter small molds or one large round cake pan.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan and set aside. Beat the eggs into the almond paste, one at a time. Continue whisking for 5 minutes; or until the mixture is pale and thick.
- Fold in the flour, cocoa, 2 tbsp. chocolate icing, salt and baking powder; then add the melted butter.
- Pour the batter into the prepared molds (or one large cake pan) up to ⅔ full. Bake for 12 minutes or until a small knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean and dry. Turn out onto a rack and let cool.
- Place chocolate icing on the cake and decorate with the strawberry stars. Add whipped cream if desired.