Spring is here and today I am sharing with you the most spring-fitting recipe ever! OK. I am not. I am bad, I know. Because today we have lots of chocolate on the menu. Wait! Chocolate has no season, right? You can enjoy it any time, right? Well, then I have all the excuse to post this recipe today for the most chocolate-rich chocolate cake I’ve posted on my blog to this day—Vienna chocolate cake. I spotted the recipe in one of Dan Lepard’s baking books and fell in love with it from first read. According to the author, it is the simplified version of the original Austrian Sachertorte.
I set out to bake it. I have to confess I don’t have a sweet tooth and I don’t care for chocolate desserts as much as I do for lemon ones, I still wanted to try the recipe because I have a house full of chocoholics and I knew they would appreciate my efforts. Luckily, they did. And here’s to all of you, my chocoholic friends out there—the recipe to try and the cake to enjoy!
Vienna Chocolate Cake
Adapted from “Short & Sweet” by Dan Lepard
1. The original recipe calls for using a 7-inch (18-cm) baking pan to bake the cake, but since I don’t have a pan that size, I used a 9-inch (23-cm) pan. Needless to say, the cake turned out thinner than supposed to, but was still presentable enough.
2. Note coconut flakes on top of my cake. They were not called for in the recipe. I only used them to cover some imperfections on the top of the cake (the sponge somehow soaked up some of the glaze leaving the top a bit rough and not very glossy, so I remedied this with the coconut flakes). This is optional.
3. Reads about the filling in details in the ingredients list. If you don’t like cakes too sweet, go with tangy fillings.
For the Chocolate Glaze:
1/2 cup water
2/3 cup super-fine sugar (if you have regular granulated sugar, to make it super-fine, give it a whiz in the food processor until fine in texture)
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
4 ounces semi-sweet dark chocolate, chopped into pieces
For the Cake:
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1/3 cup super-fine sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups finely ground almonds (almond meal)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
For the Filling:
1/2 cup good apricot jam, thinned with a little water or brandy and warmed (best to use jam that is not too sweetened with sugar; otherwise, the cake will be overly sweet and heavy; you can substitute apricot jam with any other type of jam, if you wish).
Make the chocolate glaze:
Whisk the water, sugar, cocoa, and lemon juice till smooth, then bring to a boil in a deep saucepan and simmer for 1 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes, stir in the chocolate until melted, and keep warm in a measuring cup (you will split the glaze equally later).
Make the cake:
Heat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC). Butter the sides and the bottom of a 7-inch (18-cm) round cake pan (see Note) and line the bottom with parchment paper. Whisk the butter, sugar, and one egg for about 2 minutes until fluffy. Separate the remaining egg, saving the white in a clean bowl and beating the yolk, ground almonds and half the chocolate glaze in with the cake mixture. Using a separate bowl, beat the egg white with a clean electric whisk to form soft peaks. Sift the flour and baking powder onto the cake mixture, fold through evenly, then quickly and lightly fold in the egg white.
Bake the cake:
Gently scrape this into the pan, secure a sheet of foil over the top and bake for about 35 minutes, or until firm and a skewer inserted comes out with just a few tiny moist crumbs stuck to it. Cool, still covered, in the pan, then slice horizontally into three thin layers.
Assemble the Cake:
Spread one side of 2 of the layers with the jam, stack the layers top of each other (jam-sides up), then place the third layer on top. Pour the remaining chocolate glaze over the top and sides (you may want to place the cake on a cooking rack set over parchment paper before pouring the glaze on top; the paper will catch the drippings and you can discard of it). Set aside to allow for the glaze to set.
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