I wanted to make something special for dessert this weekend and I came across this delicate chocolate cake recipe by Diana Henry and decided to give it a whirl. It doesn't look amazing as the top has a meringuey feel to it, so it cracks, but, the upside is that when you eat it there is a delicious crunch before you descend into the chocolate heaven below. It's an easy dessert for the result - even if you don't do cakes, you can do this one! xx
200g plain chocolate, 70 per cent cocoa solids - in pieces
125ml strong-flavoured extra-virgin olive oil (I used Cobram Estate Extra Virgin - which is pretty strong and fruity).
200g caster sugar
2 tbs almond meal
Pinch of sea salt
5 large eggs, separated
To serve: icing sugar and double cream
Heat the oven to 180C, then butter and line the base of a 20cm spring-form cake tin. Break the chocolate into pieces and place in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir a little to help the chocolate to melt. Once it's completely melted, whisk in the oil in a steady stream, then two-thirds of the sugar, whisking to help the sugar dissolve in the heat of the chocolate. Remove from the heat. Stir in the almond meal, the sea salt and the egg yolks.
Put the egg whites into a scrupulously clean metal bowl with about one third of the remaining sugar. Beat with a hand beater until the whites are no longer clear, and then add another third of the sugar. Continue beating until the whites have really increased in volume, then add the rest of the sugar and beat until you have medium peaks (firm with tips that droop slightly). This takes a while - don't give up!
Using a really large metal spoon, loosen the chocolate mixture by folding in a big spoon of the egg whites, then fold in the rest carefully so that you don't lose air. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 40 minutes. Test by inserting a fine skewer into the centre of the cake. If it comes out clean, with no batter attached, the cake is ready.
Leave the cake to cool in the tin - it will deflate and crack a lot, but that is fine. Carefully turn it out and remove the paper. Put on to a plate and dust with icing sugar before serving with double cream.