Chocolate Nut Cake

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Ingredients (14)

  • 13 ounces dark chocolate, broken into squares
  • 2/3 cup pecans, walnuts or skinned almonds
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup superfine granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Cointreau
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 6 medium eggs, at room temperature
  • Pinch cream of tartar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup superfine granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Cointreau
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 6 medium eggs, at room temperature
  • Pinch cream of tartar

Summary

Discover the sensuous aspects of chocolate. Julie’s recipe for Chocolate Nut Cake is sinfully-rich.

Instructions

  1. 1First prepare the cake pan. Line the sides and base of a 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper or waxed paper.
  2. 2Put the butter and chocolate in a small saucepan and melt carefully over low heat, stirring until smooth.
  3. 3Put the nuts, flour and sugar in the bowl of a food processor, or in an electric blender, and process briefly until the nuts are coarsely ground. Transfer the nut mixture to a mixing bowl. Stir in two-thirds of the melted chocolate-butter mixture, the Cointreau and water.
  4. 4Separate the eggs, putting the whites in a grease-free bowl and the yolks in a small bowl. Beat the yolks for a minute or two, then blend into the chocolate mixture. Whip the egg whites and cream of tartar together until firm, but not stiff and dry. Mix a large spoonful of the whipped egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then carefully fold in the rest with a large spoon. Spoon batter into the prepared pan.
  5. 5Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 25-30 minutes, or until firm-ish to the touch. Let cool in the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack and peel off the paper. Let stand until nearly cool.
  6. 6Gently reheat the remaining chocolate-butter mixture until warm, then spread it over the top and sides of the cake, using a flat-bladed knife. Let stand at room temperature until set. (Don’t refrigerate the cake because the chocolate topping loses its gloss when chilled.)
  7. 7Tips
    Grinding the nuts with the flour and sugar keeps them from turning oily; oily nuts make the texture of the cake dense and heavy. Use fresh nuts. Rancid, bitter walnuts will kill the cake (maybe even you – they’re toxic!). Walnut skins, even on fresh nuts, are faintly bitter, so flick off as much skin as you can. Almonds are the best in my opinion, because they don’t go rancid as quickly as walnuts and pecans.

This is not the place to use cheap chocolate “buttons.” I use Valrhona chocolate for its rich taste, spreadability and gloss.

The cake keeps well for a day or two, but resist the temptation to put it in the refrigerator because the chocolate coating will lose its lovely gloss. If this happens —and a very cool kitchen can be the culprit —give it a quick buzz-over with a hairdryer and see if you can return it to its former glory. (Well, it works for me sometimes!)

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