mandarin chocolate cake

OK. You were right. I couldn’t last without sugar, flour or chocolate for very long at all. And I just HAD to post this recipe in honor of SEQ's best ice-cream. Completely devoured by moi in a minute flat abit earlier in the week.

I’m not really a huge fan of sorbets. Are you? Please just give me a creamy Zabaione, Pannacotta or Tiramisu Gelato any day of the week. But one sniff, one tiny plastic spoonful of Mandango sorbet (Queensland mango with fresh mandarin juice) from My Gelato at Kirra - and I'd departed.  Gone straight to the kitchen to make the perfect chocolate cake worthy of sharing a plate with this extraordinary sorbet creation.

One of lifes best pairings I believe - citrus and chocolate. The whooooosh of jaffa filled air warming up My Farm Kitchen on a rare cold and cloudy day. I think this cake could easily be excused for heating up any kitchen on the hottest summer day.  Its scent should be bottled. Indeed, if we had any neighbours within aroma distance at the farm, I’m certain they’d be in. 

This recipe is adapted just a smidge from Bill Granger’s lovely Open Kitchen cookbook. His chocolate portugese tarts on the previous page of this book are pretty darn amazing too.

Ingredients

250 grams (9oz) good-quality dark chocolate, broken up into small pieces 250 grams (9oz) unsalted butter, chopped into small pieces ❤ 6 free range eggs, separated ❤ 115 grams (½ cup) caster sugar ❤ 3 tablespoons plain flour, sifted (omit plain flour & just add more almond meal or gluten free flour to make this cake a 100% gluten free option) ❤  25 grams (¼ cup) almond meal ❤ 1 tablespoon of freshly and finely grated mandarin zest ❤  cocoa & a little extra dark chocolate for dusting and grating on top ❤ mandarin slices, cream or sorbet to serve (optional)

Method

Preheat oven to moderately hot 190°C (370°F). Lightly grease and line your 23cm springform cake tin with baking paper. 

Melt the butter and chocolate slowly in a double boiler ie. a saucepan inside another saucepan filled with water. Don’t allow the water to touch the base of the inside saucepan. You want to always melt your chocolate slowly and gently over low temperature, so it doesn’t ever become grainy or lose its gloss. I take it off the heat just before it has all melted. And I give it a good stir to finish the melting and combining.

Break egg whites into a clean, dry stainless steel bowl. 

Place the yolks into a medium sized mixing bowl, along with the caster sugar. Beat the egg yolks and sugar gently until combined. Slowly add the melted chocolate butter mixture and mandarin rind to the bowl.  Stir constantly to combine lightly. Add the sifted flour and almond meal and fold through the mixture with a large metal spoon.

Beat the egg whites on high until stiff peaks form.

Add into the cake mixture in two additions, folding them through each time gently, only until barely combined.  The idea being to keep the cake mixture as light and fluffy as possible.

Bake for 35 minutes in a hot oven. It will probably be cracked on top and won’t be cooked in the centre when you gently take it out of the oven. This is the idea. Don’t cook it any longer. Once it completely cools in the tin, the cake will deflate, become incredibly moist and very moreish. To overcook it would spoil it entirely.

It tastes even better in a day or three when the flavour of the mandarin rind gets stronger and goes right through the chocolate cake.  This low gluten cake can easily and successfully be made gluten free, by adding 3 tablespoons of gluten free flour, rice flour or almond meal, instead of the plain flour.

Thick slices of freshly peeled mandarin look really pretty on the plate. If you don’t have fresh citrus sorbet close to home, you might like to serve the cake with freshly whipped cream or vanilla ice-cream.

Thank you for all the new 'likes' and lovely feedback on Facebook this week.  Please excuse no finished pic on this cake - I gave it away for a friends birthday - even before I'd had the chance to photograph it. Don't you just love these cakes that don't need any fancy icing. A light dusting, a grating or curling of chocolate on top, some fresh fruit on the side and all's good in the world. Enjoy your weekend and happy baking MFK friends. x