Last weekend was my 26th birthday. Gosh, I'm getting old! I had some friends round for lunch, and we ate and ate and ate.
I didn't manage to get any good pictures of my guests, but here's the cake..
It's Elizabeth David's chocolate almond torte. I make it every year and it's never failed me!
To make it, you do this:
Preheat the oven to 375F (190C), and line a 20cm springform tin with baking paper.
Separate 4 room-temperature eggs, with the yolks in one bowl and the whites in another.
Melt 200g dark chocolate (the best you can get, and at least 70% cocoa solids) with 150g chopped unsalted butter in a stainless steel bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat and cool.
Beat the egg yolks and 100g caster sugar until pale and thick. Beat in the melted chocolate/butter mixture and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Fold in 100g blanched almond meal.
In a clean, dry bowl, whisk the egg whites until foamy. Add 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (I usually omit this, it's not really necessary) and continue whisking until soft peaks form. Sprinkle in 50g caster sugar and whisk until stiff peaks form. Fold about 1/4 of the whites into the chocolate batter to lighten it. Quickly fold in the rest of the whites and mix only until just incorporated.
Pour the batter into the pan and bake for about 45 to 50 minutes or until ready. Remove and cool. The cake will rise during baking but falls during cooling, leaving a crisp and cracked crust. Once cool, run a spatula around the inside of the pan before undoing the tin. Dust with icing sugar and serve with strawberries and thick double cream.