Friday, September 27, 2013

Chocolate Almond Toffee Cake

After a spring and summer of really incredible fruit fashioned into delicious fruit pastries and desserts, it’s time to turn our thoughts to some serious chocolate cake.  And by serious, I mean a dark moist cake bolstered with a gooey brown sugar toffee sauce and toasted nuts.  Of course, chocolate glaze is always a great way to finish a chocolate cake, but this is a very easy topping if you’re in the mood for something different.

Chocolate Almond Toffee Cake is the kind of dessert you roll out for good friends who may be in need of a little indulgence.  The cake is enriched with cocoa and uses melted butter so it can be mixed rather quickly with only the slightest effort.  The toffee takes less than 5 minutes to produce.  The nut of choice in this recipe happens to be almonds but toasted hazelnuts or pecans would also be terrific or a mix of all three if you can't choose.   

The cake is rich enough to satisfy an itch for chocolate.  And it's the season to come in from the cold, so get yourselves in a party mood and pull this together for a hungry gathering of dessert lovers.   Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream if you're feeling especially celebratory!

I want to take a moment to thank everyone who has sent me really wonderful feedback on my new ecookbook, The Global Pastry Table.  It's such a pleasure to hear from you.  Please do take a moment to leave a review at Amazon or iTunes (launch the iTunes app and there’s a tab there for reviews).  I would so appreciate it!

Bench notes:
- My usual weight for one cup of all-purpose flour is 5 oz.  Alice Medrich’s standard is 4 1/2 oz.
- The cake recipe calls for natural cocoa powder rather than dutched.
- Medrich instructs to whisk the dry ingredients, sifting only as necessary if your cocoa powder is lumpy.
- To toast sliced almonds, spread them out in a single layer on a baking sheet and place in a 350 F oven for about 5 – 7 mintues.  Watch them closely as they will burn quickly.
- Add a little nip of brandy, rum or Amaretto to the toffee sauce along with the vanilla for an adult variation.
- The sauce would also make a good topping for ice cream.

Fastest Fudge Cake

1 cup (4 1/2 oz) flour
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (1 oz) cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 oz (8 tablespoons) butter, melted and warm
1 1/4 cups (8 3/4 oz) light brown sugar, packed  [I used dark brown]
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup (4 oz) hot water

Almond Toffee Sauce                                                                                            
1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz) dark brown sugar, packed                                                                     
2 oz (4 tablespoons) butter                                                                    
1/3 cup heavy cream                                                                
1 teaspoon vanilla                                                
1 teaspoon lemon juice                                                                                        
pinch salt, to taste            
1/2 cup (1 1/2 oz) sliced almonds, toasted

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Lightly grease a 9” x 2” cake pan and line the bottom with a circle of parchment.

Whisk the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt together.

In a mixing bowl large enough to hold all the ingredients, combine the warm melted butter and brown sugar.  Mix in the eggs and vanilla until well blended.  Add all of the flour mixture 
at once and stir only until all the flour 
is moistened.  Pour the hot water over the batter all at once.  Stir only until 
the water is incorporated and the batter is smooth.   Scrape the batter into 
the prepared cake pan.  Tap the bottom of the pan a few times on a work surface to release any air bubbles.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes 
out clean, about 25 - 30 minutes.  Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for 
10 minutes before unmolding.  Run a thin knife around the 
edge of the cake to release it from the pan.  Invert the cake and peel off
 the parchment.  Turn the cake right side up and cool completely.

For the toffee, place the brown sugar and butter in a saucepan over medium low heat.  Bring it to a slow boil, whisking constantly.  Take off the heat and add heavy cream, vanilla, lemon juice and a pinch salt, to taste.  Stir in the toasted sliced almonds.  Set aside to cool and thicken for just a few minutes or serve warm.

When ready to serve,  place the cake on a plate or platter with a rim to catch any drips.  Pour the toffee sauce with almonds evenly over the cake. 


Rhiannon said...

I tried out this cake on a whim for dessert with my family. It was absolutely divine! Even my mother, who notoriously dislikes chocolate cakes (she'd rather just eat the chocolate straight) demanded the recipe! My dad went back for thirds! Absolutely terrific!

pastry studio said...

Rhiannon, I'm thrilled you followed your whim and shared this cake from your kitchen with your family. I love it when that happens! Thanks for making my day.

Anonymous said...

Made this cake and topped it with half the toffee topping and half ganache (from the original) ganach on top of toffee and then the toasted almonds. I should have made full amount of both I think. Wonderful. Thanks.

pastry studio said...

You are most welcome, Anonymous! Glad you enjoyed it.

Abby said...

Wonderful recipe, I made it and it was a hit! It's just like a brownie cake but I replaced the water for coffee, it was a little skinny, it doesn't rise much. I was wondering, I need to quadruple the recipe in order to make two 9" round cakes. Do you think that I can just do that?

pastry studio said...

Hi Abby. Glad you scored a hit with your tasters!

Do you mean you're making 2 two-layer cakes? Because quadrupling the recipe would make quite a lot of batter. In any case, you can multiply the batter x2 twice. Also you may want to check your baking soda and make sure you're using natural cocoa and not dutched to ensure a good rise.


plasterers bristol said...

Yummy, this sounds delicious. And quite simple to make, thanks for posting up.