No word of a lie, this is the most enjoyable thing I’ve baked in years. I probably decided to run with this one in a state of some minor hypochondria, fearing I might have come down with scurvy. But, vitamin C is no fun unless it’s in cake, so here we are with a chocolate lime cake that would be nothing without some boozy cream to accompany it.
Nigella’s Kitchen is powering my Saturday. Not just because I’m here with not a whole lot to do, but mainly because I’m getting my lunch today from the same book. This is also notwithstanding that the book suggests serving the cake with margarita cream, which proved an excellent excuse to go shopping for tequila in Waitrose at nine in the morning.
Stages: melt chocolate & butter, beat sugar & eggs, add almonds & cocoa to egg mixture, then add the melted chocolate mixture, and then the lime. Bake and leave to cool. Cream: Combine the liquids and the icing sugar. Whisk in double cream. Done.
Good things: Oh my, what is not to love about this? Come on! There’s even vitamin C in it. And tequila.
Bad things: Does eating margarita cream count as breaking dry January? If so, just don’t tell anyone.
- 150g dark chocolate
- 150g unsalted butter
- 6 eggs
- 250g caster sugar
- 100g ground almonds
- 4 teaspoons of cocoa powder
- 1 lime
- icing sugar (to serve)
for margarita cream:
- 60ml lime juice (roughly similar to the juice of 1.5 limes if you want to do it the old fashioned way)
- 1 tablespoon of tequila
- 1 tablespoon of grand marnier (or triple sec/cointreau)
- 75g icing sugar
- 250ml double cream
- 2 large-ish mixing bowls (or 1 if your electric mixer has a set one you can use as well
- electric mixer (preferable with it’s own bowl, you’ll need to wash the whisks to use again for the sauce)
- 22cm/23cm springform round cake tin
- grease proof baking paper
- wire rack
- A third mixing bowl might be needed, or just wash up one of the ones you’ve already used
- Balloon whisk (not compulsory)
- Measuring jug for double cream
- Preheat oven to 180 C.
- Get out the 150g butter from the fridge so it gets a bit soft
- Line the base of your tin, grease the sides. Which for me means:
- Put the paper under the tin, draw around the tin, and then cut along the lines.
- Remove the sides of the tin. Get a small dollop of butter on the end of some kitchen roll, and then use the kitchen roll to rub the butter into the insides of the side of the tin.
- Reassemble the tin, and put the circle of paper you cut out inside the base.
- Chop up the 150g of chocolate and 150g of butter into chunks, set aside [ plate 1 ]
- Measure out 250g of caster sugar in a medium bowl, set aside [ medium bowl 1 ]
- Measure out the 100g of ground almonds in a bowl, then shift 4 teaspoons of cocoa powder into the almonds and combine with your hands [ medium bowl 2 ]
- Grate the zest of the lime into a ramekin or small container. Then cut the lime in half and squeeze the juice into the small container [ ramekin 1 ]
- Put a small-ish amount of water in the saucepan and get it up to a simmer, then keep on a low-ish heat.
Baking the cake:
- Place the 150g of chocolate and the 150g of butter chunks in the mixing bowl and place it on top of the saucepan with simmering water. Keep stirring until it’s properly melted together. No lumps please. Set the bowl aside to cool a little. You’re done with the saucepan.
- Beat the 6 eggs and the 150g of caster sugar together with your electric mixer. It should go a lovely light beige colour, with a noticeable increase in volume. Might take 5 mins or so.
- Add the almond-cocoa mixture to the egg mixture. Fold it in, which in this case I take to mean get the spoon to the bottom of the bowl and in a circular motion fold the bottom of the mixture over the top of it, and repeat.
- Then add the chocolate mixture, and repeat the folding process. This bit will take longer. The chocolate mixture is heavier and goes straight to the bottom so you need to bring it from the bottom back to the top to combine. It should go a lovely brown colour, think gorgeous brownie.
- Then fold in the zest and lime juice, which takes only a min or so.
- Bake in the oven. Nigella says 40-45 mins but I definitely agree about checking from 35 mins. Mine was only in the oven for just under 40, but I did have a slightly smaller tin. (Is that right?)
- Make sure there’s a wire rack to put the cake tin on.
- Leave to cool for 10 mins, then place a clean towel over it. Then leave until entirely cool.
- Once it’s cooled after a couple of hours, remove the side of the tins, transfer to a plate and dust over some icing sugar.
This is where it gets boozy. Once the cake has cooled for a couple of hours get cracking on the cream.
- Measure out 250ml of double cream, and get it ready.
- Stir the 60ml of lime juice, 1 tablespoon of tequila and 1 tablespoon of grand marnier in the mixing bowl.
- Add the 75g of icing sugar to the mix. I’d use a balloon whisk to combine this, but you can use a fork. It tends to stick on the bottom of the bowl so takes a bit of work to get it to thoroughly dissolve into the mixture.
- Return to your electric mixer here. Slowly pour in the 250ml of double cream as you have your electric mix on a low/medium setting. Slowly get the cream to think a little bit until you have a light aerated mixture.
- Serve this baby!
I never over bake. I’m petrified of doing it. This recipe lends itself perfectly to my tendency in this direction. 38 mins in the oven and I have the most gorgeous soft cake. Cuts beautifully, serves beautifully, and stays really well in one piece. Hint of lime comes through, and I don’t think the chocolate is in anyway overpowering. Thanks also goes to my John Lewis springform cake tin, that I’ve used for the first time.
But the shining light of this afternoon, above and beyond all my hopes and dreams, is the margarita cream. Words can not describe. The flavour, texture, colour and smell not only work in harmony with the cake, but it’s almost good enough to spoon out of the bowl on its own. Until you realise you’re just eating cream flavoured with boozy sugar.
This gets 5 stars from me.