Recipe for the Week – Chocolate Almond Cake (Baking Partners Challenge #5)

11:52:00 am

Hello there!! Remember me?? NO???? Horror of horrors!!!

Well, I haven’t posted for nearly a month, so what did I expect?? But really, it was heartening to know that people were still reading and commenting on my blog and facebook page even though I was dormant. Thank you guys, you really are the best. It feels good to know that I was missed :-D.

I don’t have a solid explanation for my absence, just that I wasn’t feeling it, liked I’d lost my mojo or something. I also had some personal stuff to deal with, which though not completely resolved, is under control for now.

Though I wasn’t posting, I wasn’t completely off the internet; I was reading and commenting on other blogs, as some of you might know J.

Anyway, since I’m back now, why not restart with something sweet and yummy? From my last post, you know that I’ve joined the Baking Partners group, for home bakers. December’s challenge was Christmas cakes, with three recipes to choose from – Chocolate Brazil nut Cake, Neapolitan Christmas cake and Plum cake. We were given the freedom to choose the flours and nuts we liked as well as the option to make it eggless.

I decided to go with the Chocolate Brazil nut recipe, substituting almonds for brazil nuts, hence the name Chocolate Almond Cake.

Here are the other modifications I made to the original recipe:

  1. I halved the recipe, since the whole thing would probably be too much for my little family
  2. I toasted the nuts on the stove top instead of oven
  3. I used vinegar instead of cream of tartar (which was unavailable)
  4. I used regular low fat cream instead of whipping cream (again, unavailable) which changed my frosting process
  5. I used silver dragẻes instead of nuts for the garnish

First up, the Cake.

What you’ll need:

¾ cup almonds
85 g semisweet chocolate, chopped
3 * 1/8 cups sugar
1/8 cup all purpose flour
¼ tsp baking powder
85 g unsalted butter, slightly softened
3 eggs separated, at room temperature
Less than ¼ tsp vinegar

What you’re going to do:

1. Preheat oven to 180°C and prepare an 8 inch round pan by lining the base and greasing the base and sides.

2. Toast the nuts in a pan on a very low flame still they begin to brown slightly. Leave to cool.

3. Grind the cool nuts with 1 tbsp sugar to a fine powder. Sift this with the flour and baking powder till there are no lumps and everything is well mixed.

4. Melt chocolate either in a double boiler or in the microwave, and leave to cool.

5. Cream butter and 3 tbsp sugar till smooth and fluffy. Add the yolks, one at a time, and beat till well blended and pale.

6. Stir in the melted chocolate and mix well. Fold in the flour-nut mix to form a thick batter.

7. In another clean and dry bowl (glass or stainless steel), beat the egg whites till very foamy. At this point, add the vinegar and continue to beat till the batter forms soft peaks that droop a little when the beaters are lifted.

8. Now, add 1 tbsp of sugar gradually, and beat the egg whites till stiff peaks are formed, i.e. stiff and shiny peaks that hold their shape when the beaters are lifted. Stop beating now.

9. Slowly fold about 1/3 of the egg white into the chocolate flour mix, and repeat with the remaining egg white in batches.

10. Transfer batter into prepared pan and bake at 180°C for about 30 minutes or till a skewer inserted comes out clean.

11. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Using a spatula go around the cake gently and invert onto a cake rack and allow it to cool completely.

Next, the frosting.

Okay, since I used regular cream, what I ended up with was more ganache than whipped cream frosting. I’m not sure it was the right thing to do, but I’ll be honest and share with you exactly what I did.

What you’ll need:

¼ cup low fat cream
85 g semisweet chocolate, very finely chopped
85 g unsalted butter, slightly softened but still cool
1.5 tbsp honey

What you’re going to do:

1.      Bring cream to a full boil in a small saucepan, remove from heat and immediately add the chopped chocolate.

2.      Stir quickly till the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Cool to room temperature.

3.      Whip this at high speed till it thickens and becomes pale. (Didn’t really work for me because of my cream)

4.      Cream butter in a medium bowl until it is soft and smooth, gradually add the chocolate mixture and honey and beat well. Leave the frosting to rest for about 15-20 minutes.

5.      Using a long spatula, spread frosting evenly on the side and top of the cake. Make the edges as neat as you can and put in the freezer for about 3 minutes.

6.      Take it out again and check if the frosting is firm. If yes, apply another coat of frosting on the sides and top.

7.      Garnish with whatever catches your fancy. Since this was a Christmas theme, I used silver dragẻes and tied it with some ribbon. I couldn’t find red or green and had to make do with pink L.

Okay, this cake challenged me in many ways. The recipes I try usually use whole eggs, so separating the eggs was my first challenge. Then came the egg white beating part. What you see in the pictures here is actually my second attempt. My first attempt, I used a plastic bowl to beat the egg whites and they didn’t peak. I baked it any way and this is how it looked:

This is when the egg whites peaked:

Notice the slight difference in the height of the cake? If you’ve never beaten egg whites to peaks, be sure to do some research first. 

Frosting was another challenge, I usually just bake and then it gets gobbled up immediately J. And you can see that I’ve messed up the pink ribbon, getting chocolate all over it  J.

Here are the videos I referred to for help:

1. How to fold egg whites -
2. How to beat egg whites -
3. How to frost with ganache -

So that was my first Baking Partners Challenge!! I enjoyed it and look forward to more!! Tell me, would you guys try this out?

This post is also a participant in the Cook.Eat.Delicious - DessertsEvent over at Spicy Food. The event was started at

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  1. You are back!!!Yay!! Missed you. And thanks for this awesome recipe. Will definitely try soon.

  2. Oh how I missed you and the yummy food pictures :D :D Welcome back!!!!
    The pink ribbon actually looks cute and those silvery starry "dragẻes" as you call them (fancy name :D :D) make the cake look really Christmasssiie :D
    I love that last pic... :D

    1. He he, thank you, Swarnali!!! I used to call them silver balls till I read about 'dragees' somewhere - fun word to say, dragees!!

  3. Gorgeous cake Fab! And how I missed your post emails!... Back with a bang? I am feeling so festive suddenly looking at the cake!

  4. Beautiful you did very well. Love the the way to put it. Can you link this recipe to linky tool in my blog.

    1. Thank you, Swathi!! I did try earlier, but couldn't get through for some reason. I'll try again :-)

  5. The cake looks yum!!!!!! Wish I could have a piece!

  6. Sometimes I feel like I've lost my mojo too...I totally understand where you are coming from!

    The cake is gorgeous.

    1. Thank you, Ameena!! I guess it's good our mojos go off on vacation, only then do we value them :-)

  7. Cake looks delicious and neatly presented..

  8. Beautiful clean cake.

  9. Loved the pink ribbon and the silver 'dragees'!! awesome looking cake.

  10. wow the cake looks superb and perfectly done :) happy to follow u dear. Do visit me when you find time

    1. Thank you, Priya!! I'll be sure to check out your site :-)

  11. lovely cake! The way you decorated it is awesome!

  12. Replies
    1. Same pinch, Rachel!! I couldn't find Brazil nuts, and thought almonds would be great for this :-)

  13. Neverthless to say,how many failiures, it makes baking perfect.Cheer up.Happy to follow u.

    1. Thank you, Savitha! Yes, the feeling of succeeding after failing is something else entirely!!

  14. even i wont be able to get whipping cream and cream of i will try this one your way , if i get around to it!! :)

    1. Do try it out and let me know how it goes :-)). I don't think the cream of tartar matters as much, but getting real whipping cream would make a difference!

  15. Looks yummy:)And pretty!!love how you have decorated with a ribbon!!

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