Sephardic Chocolate and Almond Cake

This is a variation on Claudia Roden’s recipe that has been one of our family favourites for years – another must-have at the annual family cricket match. My brother-in-law, Simon Roden, first introduced me to this cake.

Ingredients

  • 225 g real dark chocolate
  • 25 g unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for greasing
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 170 g caster sugar
  • 125 g ground almonds
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar

Method

Melt the chocolate as described. After taking the chocolate out of the oven, turn the temperature up to 180°C/Gas 4 and butter a 25 cm springform tin. Mix the butter into the melted chocolate. Whisk the egg whites with the sugar to meringue/soft peak consistency, beat in the egg yolks and then fold in the ground almonds. Fold the egg white mixture into the chocolate and butter, and finally add the milk and vinegar (the vinegar stops the cake from cracking too much when it rises).

Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 35–45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool in the tin.

Turn out and sprinkle with icing sugar/cocoa powder – you can make a cardboard stencil of a hare, a lamb, or any other motif you like. First lightly dust the whole cake with cocoa powder, then lay the stencil on the cake and sieve the icing sugar through it (you can use a tea strainer, if you want to be more accurate). Lift the card away very carefully when you have finished.

To Decorate (optional)

  • icing sugar
  • cocoa powder
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