You will need...
FOR THE CAKE
- 150g Chopped Dark Chocolate
- 150g Soft Butter
- 6 Large Eggs
- 250g Granulated sugar
- 1tsp Vanilla Extract
- 100g Ground Almonds
- 1tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 1 pinch of Ground Cloves
- Zest of 1 Clementine (or Satsuma)
- 60ml of Espresso or very Strong Coffee (we used 1942 Blend made in the Alessi Stove Top or you could use Creole Blend made strongly in a Cafetière, or as a Pour Over but just add a little more coffee than usual)
FOR THE TOPPING
- Juice of 1 Clementine (or Satsuma)
- 15g Butter
- 1tbsp Caster Sugar
- ¼ tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 50g Flaked Almonds
- Feel free to retrieve anything you'd like from the refrigerator to allow it to reach room temperature. The most crucial aspect to remember is ensuring the eggs are not chilled. If they happen to be cold, simply place them in a bowl and cover them with warm water for a duration of 10 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/gas mark 4/350ºF. Butter the sides and line the bottom of a 23cm / 9 inch springform tin.
- Combine the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and melt them together using either a microwave, following the manufacturer's instructions, or by suspending the bowl over a simmering water pan. Allow the mixture to cool slightly before incorporating the 60ml of Higgins espresso or a strongly brewed coffee.
- Beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla together until thick, pale and moussy. They should have at least doubled in volume, even tripled. If you’re using a freestanding mixer, as Nigella does, this is effortless.
- Gently incorporate the ground almonds, cinnamon, cloves, and zest from a clementine or satsuma into the mixture, being mindful not to deflate the air you've whisked in. Then, delicately add the melted, slightly cooled chocolate and butter, folding them in gently once more.
- Pour into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 35–40 minutes, by which time the top of the cake should be firm, and the underneath still a bit gooey.
- Remove from the oven, and sit it on a wire rack, draped with a clean tea towel, to cool completely.
- To prepare the cake topping, combine the clementine or satsuma juice, butter, sugar, and cinnamon in a small frying pan, preferably non-stick. Heat the mixture until it melts and begins to sizzle for about a minute, allowing it to caramelize slightly before incorporating the almonds.
- Stir everything together, and occasionally tip the pan to keep it all moving; what you want is for all the liquid to disappear and the nuts to look shiny and be coated thinly in a fragrant, orange-scented toffee.
- Remove to a plate and cool.
- Unspring the cake and transfer to a cake stand or plate; Nigella is brave enough to take it off its base sometimes, but don’t if you’re scared. Remember this cake, however intense and elegant within, has a rather ramshackle rustic appearance on the outside.
- Sprinkle the almonds primarily at the center of the cake, allowing them to form a delightful pile, while also casually scattering a few here and there across the entire surface. To complete, serve alongside the luscious Cointreau cream.
You can prepare the chocolate cake as early as three days in advance and keep it in a sealed container. Likewise, prepare the nut mixture and store it either on baking parchment in a small airtight container or wrap it in a loosely sealed foil "bag."
Make and freeze the chocolate cake up to 1 month ahead. Thaw overnight in a cool room.