Birthday Cake

This is a very close-textured ‘fudgy’ cake that needs no filling. There is no flour in this recipe; ground almonds give the flavour and texture. Decorate the cake with crystallized flowers and candles, if you like. This recipe serves about 10 people.

6 large eggs, 5 of them separated

215 g (7½ oz) caster sugar

265 g (9½ oz) plain chocolate (39 per cent cocoa solids)

1 level teaspoon instant coffee granules

1 teaspoon hot water

150 g (5 oz) ground almonds


4 tablespoons apricot jam

225 g (8 oz) plain chocolate (39 per cent cocoa solids)

100 g (4 oz) unsalted butter

1 Pre-heat the oven to 190°C/Fan 170°C/Gas 5. Grease a 23 cm (9 in) deep round cake tin then line the base with baking parchment.

2 Place the egg yolks and whole egg in a large bowl with the sugar and beat together until thick and light in colour. Melt the chocolate gently in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally. Dissolve the coffee granules in the water and add to the melted chocolate. Cool slightly, then stir into the egg mixture along with the ground almonds.

3 In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Carefully fold into the egg and chocolate mixture. Turn into the prepared tin and gently level the surface.

4 Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 50 minutes or until well risen, and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then turn out, peel off the parchment and finish cooling on a wire rack.

5 Measure the apricot jam into a small saucepan and allow to melt over a low heat. Brush over the cake. To make the icing, melt the chocolate gently in a bowl set over a pan of hot water, stirring occasionally. Add the butter and stir until the icing has the consistency of thick pouring cream, cooling if necessary.

6 Stand the wire rack on a baking tray to catch any drips, then pour the icing over the cake smoothing it over the top and sides with a palette knife. Allow to set, then decorate if you like.

Read more: How to Prepare a Dorchester Biscuits At Home

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