The first recipe our organizer, Swathi gave us was a Julia Child recipe from the Art of French Cooking for a Chocolate Almond Cake with a Chocolate Ganache like frosting. Before I get to the recipe, a little information about melting chocolate. If you have a double boiler, that is best. A double boiler is basically two saucepans that sit on top of eachother. The bottom pan is filled with water and then the second pan is placed on top and the chocolate is melted in the top pan. If you do not have a double boiler, you can also do the same process by using a stainless steel bowl on top of a pot of boiling water. Place the chocolate in the bowl and heat on medium until the chocolate melts.
The reason you use these tools instead of directly melting the chocolate over the flame is that chocolate can easily burn and if it melts too fast, the fats will break down in the chocolate and you will have a lumpy mess instead of smooth, homogenous chocolate liquid.
Chocolate Almond Cake with Ganache Frosting(click here for printable recipe)
4 1/2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
2 tablespoons rum (I used Apricot brandy because it was what I had in stock)
3/4 cup almonds, ground very fine in a food processor (while blanching and skinning almonds first is common, I prefer the heightened nutty flavor by using the raw almonds)
1 stick butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs, separated
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon + 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2/3 cup self rising cake flour, sifted
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Butter a flour a 9-inch cake pan.
Melt chocolate using double boiler or stainless steel bowl. Once the chocolate starts to melt, add the rum or brandy and mix until chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Immediately remove from heat.
Mix the butter and sugar together until pale yellow and creamy. Add egg yolks and mix until well blended.
In another clean stainless steel or glass bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks are formed. Add the tablespoon + 1/2 teaspoon of sugar and beat until you have stiff peaks.
Using a rubber spatula, fold in the melted chocolate, almond extract and the ground almonds into the butter-sugar mixture. Mix well until thoroughly combined.
Fold in 1/2 of the egg whites and then half of the flour mixture. Repeat until just combined.
Pour into prepared cake pan and bake for 25 minutes.
2 1/2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
2 tablespoons brewed coffee (use strong Espresso type coffee - I used Cafe Bustelo)
6 tablespoons butter, softened
Using double boiler or stainless steel bowl, melt chocolate. Once it starts to melt, add coffee. When it is smooth, remove from heat and add butter. Mix well until smooth and homogenous. Let cool completely.
Time was tight and since this needed to be posted today, I was in a bit of a rush, so this is not the neatest frosted cake in the world, but this really is a delicious cake and it can really turn into a beautiful cake using almonds for decoration. Do check out the Baking Partners linkup party who had time for decorating this amazing cake. If you are interested in joining the Baking Partners, see here.
I am not a huge chocolate fan. I rarely make or order chocolate cake in a restaurant. The nutty flavor and texture of the raw almonds really lightens the intensity of the chocolate. This really is a delicious cake that gives you the best of both worlds - a decadent chocolate cake, but still light.
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