Mar 2, 2013

Capri cake I

Beautiful recipe. No flour, no powder. Just almonds, butter, sugar, eggs and chocolate. Cake from Capri, where it's beautiful and sunny and no one wants to spend hours in the kitchen working on elaborated dishes.

Most of the work involves preparing almonds, peeling them, toasting, cooling and...chopping. For the second time in a row, I chopped them too coarsely. This time around, my almond pieces looked fine on top of the food processor, however there were bigger pieces on the bottom. I think the cake would have been even better using basically almond mill, although the original recipe called for coarse pieces.

The egg whites in the batter make the cake look like a the oven. During cooling, it all goes down. It's the best to use a regular round spring form and parchment paper. I used the one for tarts and no paper. The cake didn't want to leave the form. I cut it away from the form with a knife.

Simple recipes, like this one, still require attention to details. Nothing is done in a hurry, I tried.

Recipe adapted from Giallo Zafferano

time: 1h preparation + 45 min baking + 30 min cooling = 2h 15min


300 g (2 cups) whole almonds, peeled or not
250 g (1 cup and 2 Tablespoons) butter room temperature + more for greasing the form
200 g (1 cup) sugar
250 g (9 oz) dark chocolate
cocoa for topping


to prepare almonds
Preheat the oven to 200C (400F). If you need to peel the almonds, put them in boiling water for 1 minute only. Spread peeled almonds on a baking sheet and place them in a hot oven for 5-7 minutes. Then switch oven to broil, move the sheet higher and give them another 3-5 minutes of toasting. Almonds should only slightly change in color. When ready, they should give out a nice aroma, but watch them closely in the oven, they burn fast. Transfer toasted almonds onto another dish for cooling. Chop them in a food processor. If you like them fine, chop finely, if you like them coarse, chop coarsely. 

Lower temperature of the oven to 180C/360F, fan forced function. Butter a 24-26 cm (9-10 inch), or better yet, cut a round piece of parchment paper to line the form (sides and bottom). I didn't but should have.

Melt chocolate in a water bath. Using two pots, one with hot water, one with pieces of chocolate, melt chocolate over water. Don't ever allow water to boil. Chocolate melts well in its own heat so mix chocolate vigorously. The cooler it's, the faster you can use it. 

Separate egg whites from yolks. Put egg whites aside in a medium bowl.

In a bowl of an standing mixer, beat butter, half of the sugar and egg yolks for about 5 minutes till smooth. Add cooled (does not have to be cold, just warm) melted chocolate. Add almonds.

In a medium bowl, beat egg whites till smooth and glossy (not dull and grainy - that's overdoing it). Toward the end, add the remaining half of the sugar

With a rubber spatula, slowly and gently, fold in the whites into the rest of the batter till all combined and not any longer. 

Transfer the batter into the prepared form. Place it in the hot oven for about 1 hour. I used a 30cm (12 inch) form, so I cut the baking time by 15 minutes. Check if the toothpick comes out clean (it won't be dry) from the middle of the cake. Take it out of the oven, let it cool. Sift cocoa on top. Enjoy a piece of Italy! I always do.

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