By no means is this a recipe for a “Christmas Cake.” It’s not one of those traditional Italian recipes that are made on one day of the year to celebrate a specific holiday – like the Madonna della Salute – or even any of the regional/seasonal sweets that show up only this time of year.
But this is a deliciously good Italian cake. And not too difficult. And if you decorate it as I saw it done recently at a friends house it certainly does look Christmasy doesn’t it?
This chocolate nut cake is called Torta Caprese. Capri Cake. And I have no idea why. I can understand about all those lemony deserts which come from that part of the world where there is citrus everywhere you turn. But chocolate and nuts? How did those land so far from home?
I used to make this cake a lot, but it had fallen off my radar lately. In general I guess I just don’t do as much baking as I used to. When I have dinner parties I’m more likely to spend my time and effort on the first and second courses, leaving it up to one of the guests to show up with something sweet.
But I was reminded just how delicious this cake was when I visited my friend Ilaria Miani in Venice recently. Luckily I snapped a couple of photos before we gobbled the whole thing up. And although I’m sure she didn’t intend the decoration to look Christmasy, the shiny red currents and bright green mint leaves made me mentally file this away for December.
26 cm spring form pan
250 grams whole almonds
250 grams dark chocolate
6 large eggs
225 gr sugar
250 gr unsalted softened butter
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
Make sure butter and eggs are at room temperature.
Preheat oven to 150C
Butter a 26c spring form pan and line with parchment paper
Coarsely grind almonds in a food processor.
Coarsely grate chocolate in a food processor.
Separate the eggs.
Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, until mixed in. Then add nuts and chocolate
Beat egg whites until they form soft peaks.
Gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, about a quarter at a time.
Put into the prepared pan and back for about 45 minutes until set (test with tooth pick)
Let cool, and carefully take out of pan. Top with sprinkled powdered sugar.
And, if you’re feeling Christmasy, top with a few bunches of red currants and some mint leaves.