Today marks my last full day in Belfast, Northern Ireland. And I’m stuck at home with a bit of a cold and a sore throat. Usually if I’m feeling a little sorry for myself, I like to whip up something quick and comforting. A fudgey cake-like thing is often my Plan A (Plan B being cheese on toast). If there is a block of Lindt 70% in the cupboard and a scrape or two left of vanilla ice-cream in the freezer, then everything is going swimmingly, George Peppard. With this happy injection of chocolate, I then proceed to curl up on the couch, and watch something trashy on TV. I am particularly obsessed with food/cooking programs (surprise surprise). Stefan Gates’ Cooking in the Danger Zone was a recent good one and Gordon Ramsay is always entertaining.
A couple of days ago, I spotted a set of cute white ramekins in B’s mom’s kitchen, and decided to make some mini chocolate cakes. (The ramekins remind me of little flower pots, so I imagine it might be interesting to try baking small bread rolls or even muffins in them). These cakes can be made with plain flour instead of ground almonds, if you happen to not have any almonds in the house. For a more pudding-y feel, I served the cakes warm, ladled over with a generous spoonful of warm chocolate sauce (flavour this with a dash of Baileys, depending on the location of your occasion).
Jill Dupleix’s Little Chocolate Cakes :
200g bittersweet dark chocolate
100g caster sugar
100g ground almonds
4 large eggs, separated
icing sugar for dusting
Heat the oven to 180C/Gas 4.
Roughly chop the chocolate. Fit a heatproof bowl into a saucepan of simmering water, and combine the chocolate, sugar and butter in the bowl. Stir as it melts into a smooth and glossy sauce. Remove from the heat and cool for 5 minutes.
Add the ground almonds, and stir well. Beat in the egg yolks, one by one, until well-mixed.
Place the egg whites in a large dry bowl and beat until stiff and peaky. Stir a large spoonful of egg white into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, then gently fold in the remaining egg white.
Spoon into lightly buttered large-muffin moulds or doubled cake papers, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before removing from moulds. Serve at room temperature, dusted with icing sugar. Store in an airtight container for up to three days.