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Tomato Passata sauce, part 1

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Each to their own..

almond and hazelnut gluten free chocolate cake


In ten days time we start to harvest our grapes ,we hope we will be helped by many of our friends  and family who will also bring their children, so I thought I’d do a little  practice and make this chocolate cake.
I need practice because … if you look on the left part of the website, under categories, you will see that out of  a total of 197 recipes, only 9 are cakes …. unfortunately, I’m not very good at making them.
But anyway, to avoid a disaster on the day of the harvest I thought now  is a good time to do the test  of this almond and hazelnut gluten free chocolate cake because,  Nicks mum Jackie and her friend Ida are here for a late relaxing  summer holiday (or so they thought) . BUT I thought  while they are sitting in the shade on the porch sipping a large Gin and tonic  it would be very helpful if they shelled a BIG bag of nuts picked from our almond and hazelnut trees (the main ingredients  of this cake) also I just happened to have 2 pairs of nut crackers….unfortunately Ida  managed to pinch her skin a few times but  she was very brave and only moaned a little .Although chocolate cake may not seem suitable when it could be  35 degrees outside it will give our helpers energy and they will need it…..there are 4 tons of grapes to pick!

The hard work didn’t finish there because I kept reading the weighing scales wrong saying we need more and more ,finally after a couple of hours I got it right and we had the 400 grams needed and just had to remove the skins from the almonds which also was not an easy job to do.

Maybe I should have chosen a Ciambellone ( sponge cake) , I think even a wedding cake would have been easier but of course the real answer is to buy the prepared nuts from the supermarket…….but still we did it.

My worse critic Nick , and Jackie and Ida did the tasting and all agreed it was good but they would prefer it served with ice-cream , but I’m not sure if this was because the texture was more like biscuit or was it because the English I know seem to prefer cream or ice-cream with their cake .

Each to their own is I believe the answer to that.   

Serve 12:

For the cake
400g shelled , skinned and dried hazelnuts and almonds
250g dark chocolate, about 70%, broken into pieces
200g butter, plus a little more for greasing the tin, softened
200g caster sugar
5 egg yolks
Pinch of salt

For the chocolate glaze

100 ml water
100g caster sugar
50g dark chocolate (about 70%)
20g butter

How it works: Heat oven to 200C.put nuts on baking try an d roast for few minutes until browned. When cool, put aside a handful of the nuts to garnish the completed cake and pulse the rest in a food processor until fine.

Grease a 12 individual muffin tray , then put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl slowly melt it over a pan of warm water (the water should not touch the bottom of the bowl) once melted leave to cool.

With a  mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition and adding a pinch of salt with the last yolk. Fold in first the hazelnuts and then the chocolate . Spoon into the individual containers until 2/3 rds full, and bake for about 45 minutes. Test if cooked with a toothpick inserted into the middle of each cake if it comes out with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it, it is done. Put aside to cool. Then loosen the cakes from the containers carefully with a knife and turn onto wire rack.

To make the glaze: warm the  sugar and 100ml of water in a small pan over a low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring to the boil for three minutes. Remove from the heat and cool until warm. Stir in the chocolate and butter until it’s melted and glossy. Pour over the cakes and finish with the  chopped  remaining nuts.

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