The Flexible Baker by Jo Pratt is a super adaptable cookbook with 75 delicious recipes that have options for gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free or vegan versions.
"This delightfully dense chocolate cake tends to be my go-to recipe when I need to make a quick-to-prepare, minimal fuss cake to serve as a dessert when entertaining," says Jo. "You can easily switch the flavour around depending on which liqueur is used – it's a very flexible cake."
|175g||dark chocolate (70 per cent cocoa solids), chopped|
|175g||butter, plus extra for greasing b|
|1 cup||soft brown sugar|
|1 tsp||vanilla bean paste|
|2 Tbsp||of your chosen liqueur (optional) such as brandy, whisky, orange, almond, hazelnut, coconut or coffee|
|1 Tbsp||cocoa powder, for dusting|
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- Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan. Grease a 20cm cake tin with butter and line the base with baking paper.
- Place the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water to slowly melt. Alternatively, gently melt in the microwave in 10-second bursts.
- Beat together the butter, sugar and vanilla using an electric mixer, until it's creamy and light in texture. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Pour in the melted chocolate in a steady stream, beating as you pour, until combined and you have a creamy consistency.
- Mix in the ground almonds and chosen liqueur, if using, then pour into the prepared tin, levelling out the surface.
- Bake for 35–40 minutes until risen and just firm in the centre, with a very slight wobble.
- Leave in the tin for 10 minutes before sliding a table knife around the inside edge of the tin and removing the cake altogether to cool on a wire rack.
- Serve at room temperature for a softer texture, or if you want a firmer cake, then serve chilled. Dust the surface with cocoa powder just before serving.
- Nut-free: the same weight of desiccated (shredded) coconut can be used as a nut-free alternative. However, you can also use the same weight of plain flour, gluten-free flour blend or coconut flour.
- Dairy-free: use a plant-based butter alternative or margarine. Coconut oil can also be used, which has a very distinctive taste and works really nicely with the addition of a coconut liqueur.
- Flavour swap: if you don't want to use alcoholic liqueurs to add flavour, then you can add the finely grated zest of 1 orange, 1 teaspoon almond or coconut essence, 1 teaspoon orange blossom water or rosewater or 2 tablespoons very strong espresso coffee.
Edited extract from The Flexible Baker by Jo Pratt. Published by Quarto UK. RRP $39.99