serves 25 big or 36 small portions
A sensational dark and very grown-up cake. It is not a classic version of the famous Viennese Sachertorte, but all the more moist and rich. Decorate with the birthday girl or boy’s favourite chocolates, and don’t count calories! This cake is so moist that it keeps well for days and freezes brilliantly.
- Preheat the oven to 160°C/fan 140°C/gas 3. Lightly butter a 25cm square tin and line the base with baking parchment. Melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over very gently simmering water, making sure the bowl does not touch the water. Set aside to cool.
- Put the egg yolks into the bowl of an electric mixer or a large mixing bowl, and the egg whites into a clean, grease-free bowl. Add the sugar and vanilla to the egg yolks and whisk until the mixture is thickened and creamy (the ‘ribbon’ stage). This may take three or four minutes. Turn the mixer to low (or a hand-held whisk on a lower speed) and add the cooled, melted chocolate and butter. Separately whisk the egg whites with the salt to stiff peaks. With a metal spoon, fold the almonds into the chocolate mixture, then add a large spoonful of egg whites. Once combined, fold in the rest of the egg whites, very, very gently, a large spoonful at a time.
- Turn the cake mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 45–50 minutes, or until a skewer emerges clean. Take from the oven, leave for a couple of minutes in the tin, then turn out on to a wire rack and remove the papers. Warm the apricot jam in a small pan and press it through a sieve. Brush all over the cake while both jam and cake are still warm. Turn the cake on to the thin cake board, and put it on a wire rack. Place a sheet of baking parchment underneath to catch the drips.
- To make the ganache, melt the chocolate, cream and butter in a heatproof bowl set over very gently simmering water, making sure the bowl does not touch the water. Stir until smooth, then allow it to cool a little to thicken before pouring over the cake. Allow to set for at least two hours before decorating with the chocolates and ribbon, if using.
For the Cake
- 260g unsalted butter, diced, plus more for the tin
- 300g 70% cocoa solids chocolate, chopped
- 8 eggs, separated
- 250g golden caster sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 340g ground almonds
- 6 tbsp apricot jam, to glaze
For the chocolate ganache
- 300g 70% cocoa solids chocolate, broken into pieces
- 270ml double cream
- 60g unsalted butter
- a box of your favourite chocolates,
- 25cm square thin cake board
- a beautiful ribbon (optional
Recipes are from Celebration Cakes by Fiona Cairns, with photography by Laura Edwards. Published by Quadrille and available from all good booksellers