Dear Santa, I have been very good for the past week or so. Let’s just focus on that.
I take the holiday season very seriously. Not the events, socialising and other brutal human interactions – no, that’s a complete and utter bore. But it’s the opportunity to sleep in longer and eat all that gorgeous foods piled high on the table that appeals to me.
Christmas is by far my favourite. As a child I decorated a tree every year with all kinds of trinkets and baubles collected through the years. Of course, the highlight would be the presents that lay below the tree and all that shortbread jam cookies, plum cake and ice cream with toffee sauce.
That was decades ago.
My spirit however, remains the same, despite living in a tropical zone without a fir tree in sight. But I do provide a long wish-list to anyone offering to indulge in me (any takers? Kindly email me!).
This gorgeous cake is adapted from Nigella Lawson, tweaked just ever so slightly.
I normally refuse to add these many eggs (6) into one measly cake tin – but I have to admit, that it’s there for a reason. The only way to get your head around this amount is when you see the result after continuously beating them to double in quantity (easier if you have Kitchen Aid – which is on my wish-list, a copper one – are you reading this Secret Santa?). It’s a real beauty. If you beat it well enough, you can get the staunchest egg-haters into eating it as well. I add some nutty almond liqueur, which my cousin brought for me – it adds a brilliant depth. As I am a planner, I mixed the spices the night before and the infusion heightened the morning after.
The toffee-d almonds on top mixed with the apricots also lend to the feel of Christmas, along with the crunch factor.
This cake is just absolutely beautiful, gorgeous, and tasty and one piece won’t be enough.
As it is flourless, you must store it well in an airtight container.
Serves Yields: 9” cake | Prep Time: 30 mins | Cook Time: 30 mins
- 150g dark chocolate
- 150g soft butter
- 6 eggs
- 250g caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp almond liqueur (optional)
- 100g ground almonds
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder
- 4 tsp orange zest
- 4 tsp instant espresso grounds
- ½ tsp of clove powder
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- oil and flour for greasing the tin
- ¼ cup orange juice
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- ½ tsp cinnamon powder
- ¼ cup flaked almonds
- 2 tbsp finely chopped dried apricots
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Melt the chocolate and butter together in a double boiler on the gas.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and vanilla until extremely light and fluffy. The quantity should double.
- Then gently fold in the almond liqueur, almonds, cinnamon, zest, espresso, clove and nutmeg. Ensure to keep the fluffiness of the egg mixture.
- Then fold in the chocolate mixture, which should be slightly cooled.
- Pour into a greased and floured tin and bake for around 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine the juice, butter, sugar and cinnamon powder together in a non-stick pan.
- Bring to a gentle simmer and then add the almonds and dried apricots.
- The liquid should burn away while caramelizing the toppings.
- Remove from heat and let the topping cool completely on a non-stick sheet or plate.
- Once the cake has been cooled and plated, gently sprinkle the topping on top of the cake.
- Store the cake in an airtight container.