Chocolate cake is nearly everyone’s favourite. And this is my favourite chocolate cake to prepare for one simple reason: it is easy to make. I am not a baker by calling and this recipe ruffles none of my cake-making fear-mongering feathers. Served with custard or whipped cream, or even ice cream, it is a crowd pleaser. As it contains no flour, people who are gluten intolerant can also enjoy it. Lots of chocolate, the good kind (i.e. minimum 60 or 70 percent cocoa solids) is very good for one’s memory, apparently, as well as overall health. Do you need any more reasons to give this recipe a go?
The cake may have originated on the island of Capri … hence the adjective “caprese” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torta_caprese).
Ingredients: 250g butter, 250g chocolate, 200g sugar (divided into two parts), 300g almonds , 5 eggs, the egg yolks separated from the whites. Oven temperature 180°C. Cooking time: approximately 1 hour (this will depend on the oven. Ovens are notoriously temperamental).
Toast the almonds in the oven for about 10 minutes. Make sure they don’t burn ! When the almonds have cooled down, process them into a thick meal. It doesn’t have to look like the consistency of flour … The size of the spring-form pan (baking tray) should be between 24-26 centimetres. Cut out some parchment paper to fit the bottom of the baking pan … Butter the paper and the ring around the pan too. Set aside. The chocolate needs to melt in a bain-marie (double-boiler). This is my version. If you don’t own a double-boiler, don’t worry. You can place a soup plate over a pan of simmering water and melt the chocolate that way. The chocolate bar needs to be cut up a little … to hasten the process of melting. The chocolate needs to melt over a very low heat … and it can take 5 minutes or more even …. While the chocholate is melting, place 5 egg yolks, 100g of sugar and all the 250g of butter in a food processor and whisk it into a creamy consistency. Here is the result. Then beat the 5 egg whites until they are are quite stiff. Add the remaining 100g of sugar by and by, as you whisk the egg whites. Place the almonds and egg and butter cream into a mixing bowl. Remove the chocolate from the source of heat. Allow to cool for 1 minute. Add it to the mixing bowl. Combine the ingredients with a wooden spoon or a spatula … Add the whipped egg whites last. And there it is ! Ready to be baked. Just out of the oven … It may look ‘dry’ on the surface, but it was nice and moist within. Everyone liked it. It is very rich and satisfying and so a little goes a long way.I served the cake with some crema pasticcera (baker’s custard). Here is the link if you’d like to make it:
P.S. I stumbled upon ‘evidence’ that this recipe does have roots in Capri. It used to be called Torta Napoleon, and was created in Paris originally. It was brought to Capri in 1935 by a Russian émigrée. This is vouchsafed by food writer (she is almost 100 years old) Marinella Penta di Peppo in the following video: http://www.caprinotizie.it/tv/videogallery/video-ricette-di-capri-marinella-penta-de-peppo-e-la-caprese/