While I see other bloggers joyfully showing photos with the first signs of spring: fruit trees that blossom, small flower buds….here in Paris, winter seems to stubbornly cling to us…nature unwillingly abandons its “sommeil” (sleep)….
It is true that my mouth already waters at the thought of ripe summer fruits, and I imagine posting about it..but, due to my optimistic nature, I decided to profit from these last cold, windy days, and nothing better than indulging in a rich chocolate cake….
Mind you! This is not the typical “gâteau au chocolat”: mixture of black chocolate, sugar, eggs and almost no flour…this is a very rich, moist milk chocolate cake, which combined with the brown sugar, becomes inmediately milder in flavour…almost a “caramel”; the almond flour gives it body and texture, and finally, the almonds, and dried plums with rhum, for the European touch…..!
Since “winter” is still in the air, I decided to put “spring” on the table….
Here comes the recipe…!
For the cake you will need:
* milk chocolate, 300gr (I used Valhrona)
* butter, 180gr
* brown sugar, 130gr
* yolks, 4
* eggs, 2
* almonds, coarsely chopped, 50gr
* dried plums, imbibed in rhum, 150gr (I used “pruneaux d’Agen)
* almond flour, 180gr
* all purpose flour, 30gr
For the ganache:
* dark chocolate, 200gr
* cream, 200gr
* flaked almonds, toasted, 50gr
For the vanilla icecream (optional), see recipe here
For the cake, chop the chocolate coarsely and put it in a metal bowl, together with the butter (cut into small pieces) in a “bain Marie”. Be careful the water does not touch the metal bowl, you risk of burning the chocolate! Once both ingredients have melted, combine well. Whisk the yokes, eggs and sugar till they whiten. In the same bowl, incorporate the chocolate and butter. Whisk well. Finally, add gradually the sifted flours, and the almonds and dried plums, by hand, with big whisking motions…Bake using a 20cm mold or ring, previously buttered, (butter the foil under the ring too) for aprox. 25′, 180°C. When you introduce a wooden pick in the center, it should come out slightly moist, NOT completely dry!! Allow it to cool for some minutes, then place on a cake rack.
For the ganache, chop the chocolate coarsely. Take the cream to a boil. Allow to cool down a bit. Pour the cream on the chocolate. Wait some minutes. Combine well. Add the almond flakes, previously toasted ( to do this, place the alm. flakes on a Silpat, or parchment paper, put the baking tray in the oven (150°C) until light-golden brown).
Assembly: Place a cardboard disk (of the exact dimension of the cake) under the cake, and this one on the cake rack. At the same time, place a big bowl under the rack. Warm the ganache (if necessary, 35°C) and pour it briskly and completely on the cake centre. To achieve an even finish, tilt the cake sidewise if necessary, tap it gently, to allow the excess to fall. Refrigerate.
For extra indulgence, serve it with a dollop of vanilla icecream, sprinkled with some cacao powder, and some almond flakes.