The lingering snow and frigid cold blanketing New York and New Jersey finally started to thaw this weekend. Visible pavement on the sidewalk meant my little dog could complete her daily walk without immediately limping pathetically, paws encrusted with ice pellets and packed snow after a few steps. But today it’s snowing again; another day off for the kids and me one step closer to buying Alpine booties for the pooch.
I actually love it when a serious snowfall forces us to stay home — it looks quietly beautiful through the windows of a warm house and there’s none of the dropping off, picking up or driving to and fro required on every other day.
It means that I have a few minutes to catch up here on this blog, something that’s been a challenge lately as I still work on getting my family settled into a new home – it’s been an enormous change in my life, to say the least. Nonetheless, there’ve been things percolating in my head foodwise, and as always, anything chocolate is a welcome solace and a motivation to bake something.
I bought a stunning new cookbook, Wild Rosemary & Lemon Cake. It’s a compilation of recipes and gorgeous photography from the Italian Amalfi Coast. Looking at the pages in the dead of winter and imagining myself on a cliffside patio in Positano sipping limoncello has a warming affect on my insides, not to mention my entire well being.
I adapted this cake recipe from the book; a classic dessert from Capri, featuring chocolate and almonds. It’s often simply dusted with confectioner’s sugar for serving, but I showered mine with my absolute favorite cocoa powder - Cacao Barry Extra Brute, a Dutch-process cocoa with the most intense amber-color that I’ve come across. I became familiar with the brand years ago while working as a pastry kitchen assistant, and haven’t found any cocoa to compare.
Like many of the desserts I gravitate toward, this cake isn’t overly sweet and keeps well for a day or two, on a cake plate in the kitchen.
This recipe also appears on the Go Bold with Butter blog.
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) salted butter, cut into chunks, plus additional for preparing pan
1 ½ cups whole almonds
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 eggs, separated
1 cup granulated sugar
- Place oven rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Coat bottom and sides of 8-inch springform pan with butter.
- Spread almonds on baking sheet and toast until fragrant, 10 – 12 minutes; cool. Process almonds to coarse powder in food processor.
- Place chocolate and butter in heatproof bowl over saucepan of simmering water (make sure bottom of bowl doesn’t touch water); heat until melted, stirring. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Beat egg yolks and sugar with heavy-duty mixer until lightened in color and fluffy; scrape into large mixing bowl. Clean mixer bowl and add egg whites; beat until soft peaks form.
- Add melted chocolate to egg yolk mixture and stir to combine; stir in almonds to blend thoroughly. Add half of whipped egg whites and gently fold; add remaining egg whites and combine.
- Pour into cake pan and bake until the top forms a light crust, 35 – 40 minutes – the inside will remain moist when tested with a toothpick.
- Cool to room temperature on a rack. Dust with cocoa powder before serving.