A dark and decadent, rich fudgey sunken chocolate cake, crowned with an amaretti textured double cream and adorned with ruby red raspberries.
So you want to bake something a bit special. Something that is gloriously deep, dark and decadent and will generate "oooos" and "ahhhs" from any lucky recipient? Something that says "hey folks, I made a truly special effort here"?
Then look no further, I have the perfect recipe for you!
If my Persian love cake with rosewater was the delicate queen of cakes, this bad boy is her mysterious, dark and enticing lover (ok I know I have a weird imagination but humour me).
If a baker wants to make anything perfectly, it has to be the perfect chocolate cake. However, truth is, for years the perfect chocolate cake alluded me. That is until I discovered the joys of sunken chocolate cake. It was the wonderful genius that is Nigella Lawson who first opened my eyes to the joys of sunken chocolate cake and I have never looked back since. Quite simply it everything anyone could ever want from a chocolate cake and more. End of.
My sunken chocolate recipe is a deep chocolate cake, rather like a heavy chocolate brownie (so says my son now he has consumed most of it). It is very rich so smaller slices served with either some single cream or vanilla ice cream would be ideal. This also means that the cake serves 12 easily.
A layer of raspberries nestle into billowing double cream in which hide delicious nuggets of amaretti biscuits.
This cake truly offers the perfect mixture of flavours and textures.
What makes this sunken chocolate cake taste so good?
No flour: the reason for the sunken middle is because this a flourless cake. It relies on beaten egg whites to enable it to rise. But no flour = no dryness = divinely moist.
Espresso coffee: make your espresso up in advance. I use my trusted Bialetti stove top coffee maker to make mine. I am bit old fashioned that way, but the Bialetti just looks and sounds so lovely, who needs modern gadgets all of the time?!?
Brandy: this gives the cake a good alcoholic kick and and works really well in partnership with the espresso and the dark chocolate. Brandy adds another layer of deep flavour to this sunken chocolate cake. You can of course use Amaretto if you prefer, which pairs nicely with the Amaretti topping. Both are equally as good.
Good quality chocolate: it really does make a huge difference using "proper" 70% cocoa solids dark chocolate rather than cooking chocolate.
Ground almonds: yes here we go again. If you want lovely moist cake introduce it to ground almonds. For more recipes using ground almonds, one of my favourite ingredients, head over to my Almond, blueberry and limoncello bundt cake, Persian love cake with rosewater or Dutch butter cake Boterkoek.
How to make sunken chocolate cake with amaretti cream and raspberries
I know I always say this, but it is pretty easy.
Gather all of your ingredients together and get them weighed out ready, it makes life so much simpler and also ensures that you don't forget anything. I have learnt this the hard way!
Making the sunken chocolate cake falls into four steps.
Break all of your chocolate up into chunks and put into a heat proof bowl, one that is big enough to sit on top of your small saucepan. Add water to the saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove the saucepan from the heat and put your bowl of chocolate on top. Leave the chocolate to melt while you move onto Step 2, just giving it a stir every so often to ensure it is all melts equally.
While your chocolate is doing its melting thing take your large saucepan and gently melt your butter. Do this over a low heat, you just want to melt it not fry it. Burnt butter chocolate cake is really not the the result we are after here!
Once melted, stir in your brandy, espresso and vanilla essence until fully combined and then add your sugar.
Keep stirring on a gentle heat until your sugar has dissolved. This will take a few minutes but be patient, this cake needs nurturing if it is to deliver the desired result.
To check if your sugar has dissolved, tip your saucepan gently so that you can see the base. If you can still see sugar crystals then keep stirring until they vanish.
Stir your silky smooth melted chocolate into the butter mixture. Once all fully combined set aside to cool for about 15 minutes.
Step 3 ...
Separate your eggs. I do this by letting the egg white run through my fingers leaving the yolk in my hand. Put the yolks aside and put the whites into a bowl. Egg whites are very sensitive so be sure to check your bowl is totally clean and grease free or they will not beat up to the required consistency.
Whisk the egg whites until they form peaks, this usually takes just over a minute in a stand mixture on a high setting. Be careful not to over whisk otherwise they just implode and are no good to anyone.
Whisked egg whites are what helps the sunken chocolate cake to rise in the absence of any leavening agents, so they are a vital part of the process in making this cake.
Add your egg yolks and ground almonds to your chocolate mixture and beat for about a minute until fully combined.
Add half of your egg whites to the chocolate cake mixture and gently fold in with a large metal spoon, I use a serving spoon. Remember you need to retain the air in the egg whites to ensure the cake rises so fold in carefully and as soon as combined add in the rest of the egg whites and repeat.
Pour your chocolate cake batter into your prepared cake tin and bake for about 50-55 minutes.
Once your cake is totally cooled, whip up your double cream until it forms gentle peaks. Mix in your crushed amaretti biscuits and spread loosely over the chocolate cake. Jostle your raspberries over the top in any way you fancy.
And there you go. Only thing left to do is to enjoy this wonderful treat along with a serving of vanilla ice cream or drizzled with some lovely single cream.
If you make this cake please do let me know how you got on. You can rate the recipe and comment below.
Sunken chocolate cake with amaretti cream and raspberries
Here's what you'll need...
- Small saucepan
- Heatproof bowl
- Large saucepan
Ingredients you'll need...
Sunken chocolate cake
- 250 g good quality 70% cocoa solids dark chocolate
- 60 ml brandy
- 2 tablespoon strong espresso
- 1.5 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 200 g unsalted butter
- 220 g golden caster sugar
- 6 large eggs separated
- 175g ground almonds
Amaretti cream topping
- 15 amaretti biscuits
- 300 ml double cream
- 300 g raspberries to decorate
- icing sugar (optional)
Here's what we do...
- Heat your over to 170°C fan/150°C/Gas mark 3
- Grease your 23cm baking tin and line the base with greaseproof paper.
- Bring a small pan of water to boiling point then remove from the heat.
- Break your dark chocolate into chunks and put into a heatproof bowl that will balance on top of the small saucepan.
- Put the bowl with the chocolate on top of the saucepan of just boiled water and allow the heat to gently melt the chocolate.
- Melt your butter slowly over a gentle heat in your large saucepan.
- Add your brandy, espresso, vanilla essence and sugar.
- Mixing continually with a balloon whisk, heat gently until all of the sugar has dissolved.
- Add your melted chocolate and mix in thoroughly.
- Set aside to cool for about 15 minutes.
- Add your egg whites to a bowl, ensure the bowl is completely clean and grease free.
- Whisk your egg whites until they form stiff peaks, this will take about 1 minute and 15 seconds in a stand mixer on a high setting. Set aside.
- Add your eggs yolks and ground almonds to your cooled chocolate mixture and beat together for about 1 minute on a medium setting.
- Add half of the egg whites to the chocolate mixture and gently fold in with a large metal spoon.
- Fold in the rest of your egg whites, again do this gently so that you keep plenty of air in the mixture.
- Transfer your cake batter to your cake tin.
- Bake in the centre of your oven for 50-55 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 15 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
- Leave to completely cool before adding your topping.
Amaretti cream and raspberry topping
- Beat your double cream until it forms peaks, do not overbeat.
- Put your amaratti biscuits into a food bag and smash gently with a rolling pin so that they break into small pieces, then mix into the cream.
- Spread the cream over the top of your cake and decorate with raspberries.
- Sift over a little icing sugar.