Every birthday deserves cake. It just wouldn't be the same otherwise.
This cake was for my friend Kirby's birthday.
It's full of chocolate and almonds and even more chocolate.
But when you turn 23, you don't get candles or singing on your birthday. Especially not in a lovely cafe when you're eating lunch.
We had a lovely lunch at Jam Jar, and there was sav blanc and lovely ladies and warm winter salads.
After lunch, there were more drinks, and more friends, and cocktails that came in bear-shaped jars.
The rest of the night looked like this, dark and a little bit blurry.
(I'm not even sure that I'm allowed to call Kirby 'turdy'. I don't know where the nickname came from, and I don't know if people still call her that. But it kinda just happened on the cake bunting and so we'll just go with it.)
Chocolate & Almond Cake:
Slightly adapted from Julia Child's "Mastering the art of French cooking"
I doubled Julia's original recipe to make the layer cake above. But if you just want to make this to bring to a nice family dinner, halve the recipe back down. Although, it won't look quite as impressive that way...
200g dark chocolate
250g butter, softened
2 tbsp sugar
2/3 cup almond meal
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 cup plain flour
Preheat oven to 170C. Grease two 20cm springform pans.
Melt the chocolate in a metal bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Don't let the water touch the bowl. When melted, take of the heat and set aside.
Separate the eggs, placing the whites in a large bowl.
Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt, until soft peaks form (about 1-2 mins). Sprinkle the sugar over and continue beating on high until stiff peaks are formed (another few minutes). Set aside.
Beat the butter, sugar and egg yolks in a large bowl, until pale.
Stir the melted sugar into the butter mixture. Stir in the almond meal and extract.
Quickly stir in a quarter of the egg whites.
Fold in a third of the remaining whites. When partially incorporated, add a third of the flour and continue folding.
Continue alternating between adding eggs and flour, until all ingredients are incorporated.
Divide the batter between the two pans.
Bake for 25 mins, until the edges are cooked, but the middle is not quite set. A skewer should come out clean around the edge, but be slightly oily in the middle.
Leave to cool for at least 2 hours before icing.
Slightly adapted from Julia Child
200g dark chocolate
1 tsp vanilla essence
Place all ingredients in a metal bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Don't let the bowl touch the water.
Allow the mixture the melt before stirring until smooth.
Plunge the bowl into a larger bowl of ice cold water, and quickly whisk with a spoon until the mixture has cooled and thickened.
You have to work really fast with the icing, because once it has begun to set, it hardens very quickly and becomes difficult to work with.
Use a spoon/knife dipped in hot water to spread the icing onto the cakes, and sandwich them together. Continue dipping the spoon into hot water to smooth the icing.
Decorate with roasted almonds.