Mahjong resumed yesterday, and to launch the event our hostess cooked a delicious and extremely light chocolate cake, modified from a recipe originally published by the amazing Stephanie Alexander. The egg whites create a beautiful crusty topping, which sets this cake apart from many others.The colourful "Art Nouveau" china enhanced the occasion and was a talking point over afternoon tea. It appears we all have various sets of lovely crockery we have acquired over the years either as an inheritance or from purchasing ourselves. What to do with it all? Keep it for the next generation, sell it off to an antique shop for next to nothing, display it, or just use it whenever possible?
Always interested in the history of food, apparently this recipe is based on the French classic reine de Saba or Queen of Sheba's cake. This is an exotic chocolate cake which isn't too sweet, perfect for any time of day.
125g chocolate (70%) Cadbury, chopped1 tablespoon whisky or brandy
1 tablespoon espresso coffee
100g unsalted butter
110g castor sugar
100g ground almonds
3 eggs separated
Preheat oven to 160 degrees C. Butter an 18 cm round cake tin and line it with baking paper. (A sturdy springform tin can be used as the cake is quite fragile and may crack when turned out.)
Combine chocolate, brandy and coffee in a bowl over water or in a double boiler. Stir when melted and add butter and sugar. Mix well. Add ground almonds and stir very well.
Lightly beat egg yolks and stir into bowl off the heat. Beat egg whites until firm. Lighten chocolate mixture with a spoonful of egg white, then fold in the remaining whites very lightly and spoon mixture into prepared tin.
Bake for 40-45 minutes. The cake will still test a little gooey in the centre. It will have developed a crust and be very fragile. Cool completely in the tin, then carefully invert onto a serving plate. Dust with icing sugar.
This cake would also be perfect served as a dessert with thick cream and some raspberries.
So dear Reader, are you using all of that old, precious crockery that you own, or are you storing it away and still wondering what you are going to do with it? Do your family want it? Are there antique shops out there who will take it off our hands for a reasonable price? What do you think?