Have you ever had that sinking feeling moment when you realise you’ve left out an ingredient from a recipe? It’s usually after the cake etc has been in the oven for a few minutes and you start to clean up the counter and spy that ingredient you took out/bought for the recipe and don’t remember using. Yeah, that feeling. Then you go through the thought process…. faaarrkkk – can I fix this? Will it make a huge difference if I leave it? Will anyone notice?
I did this with a cheesecake once – I forgot the sugar. This is a major omission. I tried to stir it through after it had started baking, it wasn’t a complete fail, but a gradient of sweetness in the final product (super sweet in the middle and bland at the edges) was not what I call success.
In the interests of ‘continuous quality improvement’ I decided to write a post for this recipe in which I seem to have omitted the cream. Rather a lot of cream, as you can see from the published recipe. In my defence, the instructions in the recipe I was following omitted the cream. I can’t believe this could happen in a cookbook that crows about being ‘triple tested’!!
PS – I don’t normally draw on my books – I was feeling a little annoyed, as this was a cake I was making for my son’s 16th birthday.
My sister recently had a birthday. She was terribly upset that her children forgot and terribly upset with her children for forgetting. I sort of sympathise with her, but I also think there are a few people ahead in the queue who could have done more. Her partner for one. I confess that I always remind my kids that my birthday is coming up; really, I don’t expect them to keep a calendar like I can. I usually drop subtle hints like: ‘I’m really looking forward to a hug and breakfast in bed for my birthday tomorrow!’
Anyway, the lesson here is that I can only blame myself for the recipe fail, as I didn’t read the instructions carefully enough to notice an ingredient missing from the instructions.
So the six million dollar question is: how did the cake turn out? Actually, pretty well. It is very rich, quite moist and full of chocolate and I honestly didn’t feel that anything was missing from it. I expect the cream would have made it softer, moister and less intensely chocolatey.
I served it with a huge dollop of cream to make up. Mr 16 had his with vanilla ice cream (no candles any more).
Happy birthday to my wonderful son.
Note added: we had this the next day warmed up until the ganache melted and served with cream (and ice cream) as a dessert – it tasted much better.
Modified from: The Baking Collection – The Australian Women’s Weekly (2014)
Chocolate almond torte
- 200 g almond meal
- 185 g butter, chopped
- 200 g dark chocolate (I used 50:50 mix of 70% and 45% cocoa solids – 70% makes this cake very strong), chopped
- 6 eggs, separated
- 220 g caster sugar
- 1 cup (250 g) double cream (optional… but not recommended)
- 50 g flaked almonds, toasted until lightly brown
- 110 g caster sugar
- 40 ml (about 2 ½ tablespoons) water
- 125 ml 35% fat cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 200 g dark chocolate (I used 50:50 mix of 70% and 45% cocoa solids), chopped into small pieces
- Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan forced).
- Grease and line a 24 cm springform tin with baking paper
- Stir butter, chocolate (and cream, if using!) in a pot on the stove over a low heat until melted and smooth. Set aside to cool.
- Whisk egg yolks and sugar until light and creamy.
- Fold the chocolate mixture through the egg yolk mixture, then stir through the almond meal.
- Use a stand mixer to whisk the egg whites on medium high until soft peaks form.
- Gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture in two batches.
- Pour into pan and bake for 40 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.
- Leave in tin to cool for about 10 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Spread the toasted almond flakes evenly on baking paper lining a baking tray (leave a handful aside to decorate the cake after it has been glazed).
- Place sugar and water in a pot on the stovetop and heat with stirring until dissolved.
- Turn up heat and boil, without stirring, until the mixture turns an amber brown and caramelises. Watch this and do not let it burn!
- Working quickly, pour the caramel over the toasted nuts so they are evenly coated.
- When cool, smash the praline by lightly blitzing in a food processor.
- Place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl.
- Heat the cream and vanilla paste in a pot on the stove until it is just starting to boil.
- Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir until smooth and glossy.
- Once cooled, use to glaze the cake, sprinkle the top with almond praline and decorate the sides with toasted almonds.
- Serve with a dollop of cream or vanilla icecream