Dark chocolate almond cake for a party…

Sometimes the only kind of cake that will do for a birthday celebration is a rich dark chocolate cake, moist, full of nuts, that sticks to the roof of your mouth and of course is laced with a bit of alcohol – in this case rum, and yes there is a bit of a pattern forming, I certainly seem to have a penchant for rum at the moment – you can thank the Spaniard bar in Belfast for that.

This cake doesn’t muck around, it’s a serious cake for serious chocolate lovers – there’s so much chocolate in this cake it should carry a warning!  For me the perfect chocolate cake is made with lots of good quality dark chocolate, it has to be 70% cocoa solids at least, the higher the percentage the better.  I like chocolate cake recipes that use minimal sugar, that taste quite bitter, as dark as the jungle that the cocoa beans were harvested from.

This is a great recipe from the Godmother of Irish cookery Darina Allen, it’s a chocolate sandwich cake, made from two individually baked chocolate sponges with lots of added ground almonds, sandwiched together with a layer of thick chocolate butter icing with a dash more rum – this cake has got it all – dark chocolate, nuts and plenty of rum, what more could you want!  Best eaten with a strong espresso or two!

When baking this cake it is a must to lick the spoon!


110g good quality dark chocolate

2 tbsp rum

110g whole almonds

110g unsalted butter

110g caster sugar

3 eggs, separated

1tbsp caster sugar

50g plain white flour

50g whole almonds

Chocolate icing

110g good quality dark chocolate

2tbsp rum

110 unsalted butter

2 x 18cm cake tins


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.  Grease the tins and line the base of each with grease proof paper.  Melt the chocolate with the rum on a very gentle heat. Put the whole almonds into a food processor and blitz until finely ground.

Cream the butter, and then add the caster sugar, beating until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg yolks one by one.  Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff.  Add 1 tablespoon of caster sugar and continue to whisk until they reach the stiff peak stage.  Add the melted chocolate to the butter and sugar mixture  and then add the ground almonds.  Fold in a quarter of the egg white mixture followed by a quarter of the sieved flour.  Fold in the remaining egg white mixture and flour alternately until they have all been added.

Divide the mixture between the two prepared tins and make a hollow in the centre of each cake.  This is a top tip as it means you get a relatively flat cake rather than having a bit hump in the middle of the cake.  Bake in the oven for 19-25 minutes.

The cake should be slightly underdone in the centre.  Allow to cool for a few minutes in the tins, turn out gently onto a wire rack, remove the paper and allow to get cold.

For the chocolate icing, melt the chocolate with the rum in a Pyrex bowl over a low simmering pan of water.  Beat in the unsalted butter a tablespoon at a time.  Beat occasionally until cool.

When the cake is completely cold, fill and ice with the chocolate icing.


About The Pickled Quince

I'm a Belfast native, living in Dublin who is passionate about good food, wine and beer, and all the excellent produce that Ireland has to offer. View all posts by The Pickled Quince

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