Monday, 12 January 2009

Chocolate Amaretti Cake

I have a love of all things Italian. From the food to the language to the opera and of course to the gorgeous shoes and bags that come from there. I don't know why this should be. I have no Italian blood in my family and have only been there once. I took my mother to Rome years ago. I have always meant to go back but as yet have not made it. My father was stationed in Rome during the second world war. I don't know if looking at his photos as a young child triggered off this love affair with Italy but it is there for whatever reason. I found the recipe for this wonderful cake in Rachel Allen's 'Food For Living'. She says she was served a slice of this with a glass of Amaretti while in Italy. Gorgeous almond flavours mixed with orange and chocolate. Absolute heaven. During Roman times, almonds were considered a fertility charm, and newly-weds would be showered with almonds during weddings. There have been documented findings that nutmeats and dried fruits were treated as delicacies of this time, because the cultivation of these foods was not as prevalent as today. Imagine the value of something as small as a nut being a cherished gift for so many centuries! Back to the cake. It is dense and moist with a crunchy top and keeps extremely well. This makes it a great dessert for a dinner party as it can be made in advance. I imagine it would also be lovely served with some berries and /or cream on the side. Perfect. The plate it is served on came from Italy as a gift from a dear forum friend, Carlotta. It seemed appropriate to serve this gorgeous cake on such a lovely platter.

Serves 8-12

150g good dark chocolate (at least 55% cocoa solids, preferably 70%)
50g amaretti biscuits
100g flaked almonds, chopped
175g caster sugar
Zest of 1 orange, finely grated
100g butter, cubed
4 eggs, beaten
Cocoa powder or icing sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4.

Line the base of a 20cm-diameter springform tin with greaseproof paper and butter the sides.

Melt the chocolate in a bowl sitting over a saucepan of simmering water.

Place the amaretti biscuits, almonds, sugar and orange zest in a food processor, then whizz until the biscuits and almonds are almost finely ground – I like to leave them a bit gritty. Add the butter and eggs, whizz until blended, then add the melted chocolate and briefly whizz again until well combined.

Pour into the prepared tin and pop straight in the oven. Cook for 35 minutes until the cake is puffed and slightly cracked around the edges. Remove and leave to sit for 15 minutes before carefully transferring to a plate. The top is quite crisp, and cracks easily, so I dust it with lots of icing sugar or cocoa powder before serving, to hide any imperfections.

Notes: I did find this cake to a little longer to bake than the specified time. I suggest the use of a skewer. It is sticky in the middle so don't over cook.

I used ground almonds as that is what I had.


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A delightful cake! Really scrumptious looking!



Laura @ Hungry and Frozen said...

This cake looks delicious. I love that it has crumbled amaretti in it - sounds like a divine combination of flavours! :)

Coby said...

Oh gosh where to start? Granny, the cake looks beautiful! I do hope you get to revist the country you have such a fondness for:) I am sure you cook Italian food as well as any Italian mother too:) The plate is delightful - what a perfect setting for your cake.

'Bake', worth buying? I have heard LOTS of good things about it:)

Mary said...

Very nice and delicious , i love these types of cakes!

arista said...


Anonymous said...

What a gorgeous cake Brenda.

Andras said...

Hi Rhyleysgranny, will be that I adore the chocolate, will be that I adore Nigella, this cake is magnificent!!!
PS: you come in my blog, there are some beautiful prizes for you.
A big I embrace!!

Rachel@fairycakeheaven said...

oooo almonds and chocolate, divine!!! I'd say this was lovely and moist!!! YUM!

LyB said...

Oh, my! That looks like one dense, chocolatey and delicious cake! :)

Bridgett said...

A delicious and decadent cake. I love the flavor of amaretto so this would easily become one of my favorites!

Kelly-Jane said...

Bueatuful - both cake and plate :)

RecipeGirl said...

lol- I love everything Italian too. They've just seem to do everything right those Italians, don't they?

This looks like an amazing treat!

Natalya said...

Thank you, Granny, for this wonderful recipe !
I made it this weekend for my family who really appreciated this delicious cake. I used amaretti which I bought in Venise.
The cake had a real italian taste !