April 16, 2013

From Nigellissima by Nigella Lawson

Serves 8-12 slices


150ml regular olive oil, plus more for greasing
50gm good quality cocoa powder, sifted
125ml boiling water
2 tsp best vanilla extract
150gm ground almonds or 125gm plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
Pinch salt
200gm caster sugar
3 eggs

1 x 22 x 23cm springform cake tin


1.Preheat your oven to 170C. Grease your springform tin with a little oil and line the base with baking parchment.
2.Measure and sift the cocoa powder into a bowl or jug and whisk in the boiling water until you have a smooth, chocolatey, still runny (but only just) paste. Whisk in the vanilla extract, then set aside to cool a little.
3.In another smallish bowl, combine the ground almonds (or flour) with the bicarbonate of soda and pinch of salt.
4.Put the sugar, olive oil and eggs into the bowl of a freestanding mixer with the paddle attachment (or other bowl and whisk arrangement of your choice) and beat together vigorously for about 3mins until you have a pale-primrose, aerated and thickened cream.
5.Turn the speed down a little and pour in the cocoa mixture, beating as you go, and when all is scraped in you can slowly tip in the ground almonds (or flour) mixture.
6.Scrape down, and stir a little with a spatula, then pour this dark, liquid batter into the prepared tin. Bake for 40-45mins or until the sides are set and the very centre, on top, still looks slightly damp. A cake tester should come up mainly clean but with a few sticky chocolate crumbs clinging to it.
7.Let it cool for 10mins on a wire rack, still in its tin, and then ease the sides of the cake with a small metal spatula and spring it out of the tin. Leave to cool completely or eat while still warm with some ice cream, as a pudding.


Le Femme Version:

As far as I am concerned that is a health food, dark chocolate as we all know is an anti-oxidant, olive oil is the healthy oil and is part of the revered Mediterranean diet. The cake can be offered to anyone who cannot eat wheat or dairy products. Pair it with some raspberries or strawberries and a glass of red wine and you are purportedly helping your heart. I have made it twice, pairing it with a Southern Rhone red blend and an Australian Shiraz. If tasted divine on both occasions. Enough justification?

Le Vin:

Reserve, (Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedre), Perrin & Fils for Marks & Spencer, Cotes du Rhone AOC, France, 2011, MYR75


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