Flourless Dark Chocolate Cake with Turkish Delight, Halva & Dates
If you're looking for a cake to bake for Mother's Day - or any other special occasion - I can't think of a more glamourous recipe than this one which comes from one of my favourite cookbooks of 2020, Claire Thomson's brilliant Home Cookery Year.
"Truly a great cake, fudgy and moist" enthuses Claire. "The egg whites are whipped as for a meringue, then folded through with chunks of Turkish delight, pieces of halva, chopped dates and dark chocolate. Cardamom works its characteristic and ethereal magic with all of these ingredients.
6 egg whites
200g (7oz) caster (superfine) sugar
125g (4½oz) ground almonds
¼ tsp ground green cardamom seeds
pinch of salt
300g (10½oz) halva, crumbled or chopped into small pieces
200g (7oz) Turkish delight, ½ finely chopped, ½ chopped slightly bigger to decorate
150g (5½oz) dried pitted dates, finely chopped
200g (7oz) 70% dark (bittersweet) chocolate, finely chopped
100ml (3½fl oz) double (heavy) cream
150g (5½oz) 70% dark (bittersweet) chocolate, finely chopped
30g (1oz) pistachios, roughly chopped
rose petals, optional
Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/325°F/Gas Mark 3.
Grease and line a 24cm (9½in) springform cake tin with baking paper.
Using an electric stand mixer fitted with the whisk, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Gradually add the sugar, beating continuously, then continue to beat for 5 minutes, until you have a thick and glossy meringue.
Fold in the ground almonds, cardamom, and pinch of salt, then add the halva and the finely chopped Turkish delight. Next, add the dates and finally the chocolate.
Stir briefly until just combined. Spoon into the prepared cake tin and bake for 1 hour–1 hour 10 minutes, until the cake is set and firm to the touch (it will still be moist in the centre, so a skewer will not come out clean).
Cover with a loose square of foil if the cake catches too much before it’s ready.
To decorate, first make a ganache. Pour the cream into a saucepan and place over a high heat. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat. Little by little (but still fairly rapidly), whisk in the chocolate, so that the cream doesn’t cool too much and will melt all the chocolate.
Once all the chocolate has melted, allow the ganache to cool for 10 or so minutes in the pan, by which time it will stiffen a little to a thick pouring consistency.
Transfer the cooled cake to a large serving plate and pour over the chocolate ganache, allowing it to drip down the sides.
Decorate with the chopped pistachios and the remaining Turkish delight. Some fresh rose petals will add extra va-va-voom, if you have them.
What to drink: I'd be perfectly happy to drink coffee or tea with this cake but given you could serve it as a dessert you might want a sweet wine with it. Andrew Quady's Elysium black muscat, an exotically scented sweet red would be perfect or possibly a well-chilled glass of pink port.
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