260g unsalted butter, diced, plus more to butter the tin
300g 70% cocoa solids, chocolate, chopped
8 eggs, separated
250g golden caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
340g ground almonds
6 tbsp apricot jam to glaze
Pre-heat the oven to 160*C/325*F/fan 150*C/gas mark 3. Lightly butter a 25cm square tin and line the base with the baking parchment.
Melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over simmering water. Make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water; I always take it off the heat before all the lumps are melted. Then stir it until completely melted. It’s just how I do it! Set aside to cool.
|melted chocolate and butter|
Now you need to separate your 8 eggs. This can be a tricky part. I use 3 bowls for this. You’re going to mix the eggs yolks in your mixer (if using a free standing mixer). I use my hands to separate eggs. I brake an egg over a bowl put the yolk in a second bowl and then pour the egg white into a separate third bowl. I do this with all 8 eggs. As you can see in the picture provided that the tiniest bit of yoke in the whites could ruin the egg whites when beating. (Also see my sister’s frosting that didn’t work out due to a tiny bit of yolk.) If I had broke 7 eggs in a bowl and then with my 8th egg got any yoke in it I would have had to start over and would have been eating a very big omelet for dinner! Also you want to make sure the egg white bowl is grease free!
|un-usable egg whites|
|egg yolks, I just thought they were pretty|
|egg whites, stiff peaks (sort of)|
Now on with the cake! Add the sugar and vanilla to the egg yolks and whisk until the mixture is thickened and creamy (the 'ribbon’ stage). This can take 3-4 minutes.
Slow your mixer (hand or free standing) to low and add the cooled melted butter/chocolate mixture. Then in your egg white bowl whisk them with the pinch of salt to stiff peaks. With a metal spoon, fold the almonds into the chocolate mixture. Then big-spoonful by big-spoonful fold in the egg whites! This takes arms of steal! I managed, but was close to calling in the hubby!!
Pour into your prepared cake tin and bake for 45-50 or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave in tin to cool for a couple of minutes before turning it out on to a wire rack. Here’s were I splurged a little and bought a 25cm square tin, but didn’t get a 25cm square thin cake board. That was a mistake if I was going to go all out I should have gone all the way! I made it work with what I had, but was in fear that the cake was going to crumble in two!!
Don’t forget about that apricot jam!! Heat it up in a small pan and press through a sieve. Glaze the cake by spreading it all over while cake and jam are still warm!
for the chocolate ganache:
300g 70% cocoa solids, chocolate broken into pieces
270ml double (heavy) cream
60g unsalted butter
Turn the cake unto your thin cake board, if you don’t have one do like I did and leave it on the cake tin insert. Make sure you have plenty of paper/towels underneath to catch the drips!
|covered in ganche waiting to dry|
Do as you did before and put the chocolate, cream, and butter in a bowl over simmering water until it’s melted. Stir until melted; cool a little to thicken before pouring over the cake. Allow the cake to cool for at least 2 hours. Then decorate! I bought a small box of Thornton’s Dark Chocolate Trifles to decorate this cake with!
|dried and decorated!|