12 February 2010: Get in the kitchen and start cooking...

I know everyone has a favourite chocolate cake recipe but please try this one. I have been cooking it for years and before that eating the ones that my mum made. Sometimes she was even lucky enough to get my help - at least I am pretty sure when you are 5 or so that licking the bowl is extremely helpful. So I am not entirely sure where the original recipe is from but it just one of those recipes that is perfect as is. Doesn't need any tinkering or adjusting, always always works even under different weather conditions or temperamental ovens and is guaranteed to put a smile on the face of those you are baking for. And thats what baking's about really - being able to share something beautiful that you have made. It is even gluten free, being a flour-less cake, and must count as healthy judging by how happy anyone is that gets to eat some!!! The only secret is to get good quality chocolate, beautiful rich free range eggs from happy hens (yes you can taste their happiness) and to make sure you are hungry and have at least done some training that day so you can really enjoy it. I don't think you need an excuse to make this cake and in fact the remnants of one are sitting in my kitchen now, but you could always use Valentines Day as yours.......Happy baking! And if you are not really into Valentines Day then don't forget it is also Chinese New Year - so the perfect excuse for creating some Chinese feasts. In fact one of my favourite eggplant recipes at the moment is Chinese style - the eggplant is steamed then topped with an amazing dressing (rice wine vinegar, rice wine,soy sauce, dash of brown sugar, splash of sesame oil and some chopped garlic simmered together) - light healthy but so deliciously tasty. Come to think of it if you followed the eggplant dish with the chocolate cake then you have probably just about balanced things out and covered all bases of the days celebrations too. Delicious flourless chocolate almond cake:

185g dark chocolate

185g butter

3/4 cup raw sugar

6 eggs, separated

200g ground almonds

Icing:

200g dark chocolate

1/4 cup cream

Preheat oven to 190C. Prepare a 23cm spring-form pan by lining base with grease-proof paper and lightly buttering sides. Melt chocolate over hot water (or in the microwave on a low heat) and set aside to cool. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form and set aside. Cream butter, add sugar. Add egg yolks one at a time beating well in between each addition. Add cooled chocolate and ground almonds and stir until well combined. Add the beaten egg whites and fold in gently. Pour into the pan and bake at 190C for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 180C and bake for a further 40-45 minutes. Remove cake from oven, leave in tin and stand on a wet tea towel.

For the icing: Heat the cream in a double boiler. Add the chocolate stirring until melted. Cool slightly then ice the cooled cake. Decorate with flaked almonds and serve with thick cream and fresh strawberries if they are in season.

Yum yum