Chocolate and Children

We’ve just returned from a few days away. A working trip for me, but an event I look forward to every year, open day at the Castagna vineyard in Beechworth Victoria. I spend my time doing what I love doing most… cooking, with a fair amount of wine tasting thrown in for good measure.

The Castagna family are old friends, and now there are three generations of them. As my daughter, Hayley’s birthday coincides with this event, and she’s coming with us, I thought I’d throw a cake into the mix. And I thought that young Griffin Castagna might like to help. Now Griffin, at 4 and a bit years old is the perfect age to start helping in the kitchen, and chocolate cake being a favourite of his, well, let’s just say I had a very enthusiastic helper. Who cares if you wear a little at the end? As long as you can lick the bowl and the spoon, nothing is a problem and it all washes off in the bath at the end of the day.

Griffin’s sister Rosie got to help a little bit too, and Harry, the Jack Russell, was moral support.  

Nearly flourless Chocolate Cake

I can’t remember where this recipe comes from, all I know is that it is extremely delicious, and is best served with a large spoonful of softly whipped cream. Heaven.

Serves 8

  • 225g unsalted butter
  • 225g good quality dark chocolate broken into small pieces
  • 50g almond meal
  • 60g plain flour
  • 6 medium eggs at room temperature, separated
  • 50g brown sugar
  • 175g caster sugar
  • Softly whipped cream to serve

Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and flour a 23cm springform cake pan and line with baking paper.

Place butter and chocolate into a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water ( don’t let bowl touch water). Leave until melted, then stir until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.

Sift together the almond meal and flour. Pace the egg yolks in a large bowl with the brown sugar and whisk until pale and creamy. Gently fold in the melted chocolate, followed by the almond mixture.

Place egg whites in a large bowl and whisk into soft peaks, then whisk in the caster sugar, a little at a time, to make a soft meringue. (If egg whites are too stiff, you will find it difficult to fold them into the rest of the cake mixture.) Fold into chocolate mixture with a large metal spoon. Pour into prepared cake pan and bake for 45 - 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the cake still comes out a bit wet. This cake should be slightly undercooked and moist in the middle and will sink a little in the middle as it sets. Cool, then carefully remove from pan and pull off the paper. Dust generously with icing sugar and serve.