Caprese Cake

Visiting the stunning Amalfi Coast I spent some time with Andrea Pansa, a fifth-generation baker. His pasticceria in Amalfi is a treasure-trove of sweet delights. Andrea never uses ground almonds; instead, he grinds them with a little sugar (that way you get better flavor). Amalfi is famous for its lemon groves and Andrea grows his own, which he uses in many of his products. His candied lemon peel is some of the finest I've tasted. While not a traditional garnish, I couldn't resist using some to decorate this cake, which comes from the island of Capri.
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 2 hr 35 min (includes cooling time)
  • Active: 50 min
  • Yield: 8 to 10 servings
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Ingredients

Cake:

100 grams (3.5 ounces) blanched whole almonds

50 grams (1.75 ounces) plus 160 grams (5.6 ounces) caster sugar (superfine)

1 whole egg, plus 5 eggs, separated

265 grams (9.3 ounces) dark chocolate, melted and cooled

50 grams (1.75 ounces) chopped almonds

Topping:

70 grams (2.5 ounces) water, plus for softening the gelatin

90 grams (3.2 ounces) caster sugar (superfine)

30 grams (1 ounce) cocoa powder

25 grams (.9 ounces) liquid glucose

2 gelatin sheets (about 2.4 grams/.1 ounces)

Candied lemon peel or chopped almonds, for decorating

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/Gas 4 (355 degrees F). Grease a deep 20-centimeter (8-inch) round cake tin.
  2. To make the cake: Begin by grinding the whole almonds with the 50 grams caster sugar in a food processor.
  3. With an electric mixer, beat the whole egg and 5 yolks with the 160 grams caster sugar until the mix is pale and creamy and leaves a trail on the surface. Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks.
  4. Mix the cooled melted chocolate with the egg yolk mixture. Stir in the ground almond mixture and the chopped almonds. Beat in a spoonful of the egg whites to loosen the mixture. Now, a spoonful at a time, gently fold in the remaining egg whites.
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for 40 to 45 minutes.
  6. Once the cake is cooked, leave it in the tin to cool before turning it out onto a serving plate.
  7. To prepare the topping: Place the water, caster sugar, cocoa powder and glucose into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes and stir.
  8. Soften the gelatin sheets in a little water. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Squeeze any liquid from the gelatin sheets and then add the sheets to the pan. Stir until the gelatin has dissolved. Leave to cool.
  9. Pour the chocolate topping just onto the surface of the cake and decorate with candied lemon peel or extra chopped almonds.

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