Chocolate, marmalade & hazelnut cake…serious chocoholics venture forth!

Due to my recent Seville orange marmalade escapades (blogged here) I have 10 jars of the wonder stuff sitting, looking up at me from my bedroom floor (maybe not the standard place for marmalade storage but let’s face it, not many people are lucky enough to have a larder like Nigella’s!). They serve as a constant reminder that there’s so much baking I’d like to be doing but, frustratingly, not enough hours in the day to do it!

I treated myself to a relaxing Saturday morning holed up in bed, under the duvet, perusing cook books and deciding what was next on my baking agenda. I eventually settled for a chocolate, marmalade and hazelnut cake from Rachel Allen’s ‘Bake’ book…

It appealed to me because, not only would I be able to use my yummy marmalade but also for that fact that it’s a flourless cake, which is something I’ve not really experimented with before. Little did I know that it’d turn out to be the gooey-est, squidgy-est, richest and most intensely delicious cake ever! The kind of cake that shakes awake your taste buds, gives you a head rush and sends you into a food coma simultaneously! If you think you’re hard enough to give it a go you’ll need…

175g butter

175g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)

5 eggs, separated

175g caster sugar

150g hazelnuts (with skins on) ground up in a food processor. I used a handheld stick blender, it was a bit messy but got the job done.

200g marmalade

Zest of 1 orange, grated finely

For the topping you’ll need…

75g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)

75ml double cream

Zest of 1 orange, grated finely

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees and grease and line an 8 or 9 inch cake tin with greaseproof paper.

Melt the butter and chocolate together in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water.

In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together with a handheld electric beater or some muscle power and a good old fashioned whisk until they’re light and have a mousse-like consistency.

Once the chocolate and butter have totally melted, add in the ground hazelnuts, marmalade and orange zest and stir well.

The final component of the cake mixture is the egg whites. Whisk them until they form stiff peaks. You need to make sure there is no yolk in with your whites and that the bowl you use is spotlessly clean or they’ll never reach the right consistency.

Now to put everything together…fold the egg yolk and sugar mixture into the chocolate and hazelnut gloop until well combined. Then, in 3 batches, add the egg whites, folding them into the mixture very gently so as to retain as much of their light, fluffy, airiness as possible. 

Pour the finished cake mixture into the prepared cake tin and cook in the oven for 20 minutes, before turning the temperature down to 170 degrees and cooking for another 35-40 minutes. I tested mine at 35 minutes by inserting a skewer into the middle of the cake and seeing whether it came out clean…it didn’t, so I popped it back in for another 5 minutes and repeated this process at 5 minute intervals until the skewer came out clean and I was satisfied that it was ready..

Leave the cake to cool for a few minutes in the tin before removing it and letting it cool completely on a wire rack.

When it’s cool, it’s ready for icing. Melt the chocolate, cream and orange zest in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. As before, be very careful that the bowl isn’t actually touching the water.

Something went a bit awry for me at this stage…my icing was very thick! The recipe told you to put the cake on a serving place and to pour the icing over, letting it drip down the sides. My icing, however, was far from pouring consistency! A taste test told me that although it didn’t look quite right, it tasted amazing, so I decided to make the best of a bad situation and used a pallette knife to coat the top of my cake with what was in essence, thick, chocolate ganache…

I couldn’t wait the recommended 30 minutes to 1 hour for it to set and instead, put the kettle on, made a cuppa and got stuck in…

My eyes were bigger than my stomach and the flavours so amazingly intense that I savoured it very slowly and had to pause for a rest midway. It’s most definitely not a cake for the lily-livered…only serious chocoholics should venture forth!

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