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A gorgeous, rich chocolate cake with lightly toasted ground almonds and a splash of Amaretto liqueur, filled with almond-studded dark chocolate ganache.
Love the sound of this cake but don’t need it to be gluten-free? Simply substitute the gluten-free flours for regular all-purpose wheat flour and leave out the xanthan gum.

If you prefer not to use alcohol in your cakes, or can’t find Amaretto liqueur, simply omit it from the recipe.

This makes a tall cake, so make sure your tin is at least 3″ tall, alternatively, you can bake it in multiple shorter tins.

Posted by Sweetness & Bite from Tauranga, Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand • Published See Sweetness & Bite's 7 projects »
  • Step 1

    Preheat oven to 160°C. Grease and line a 7” round baking tin, and make a foil lid (check out the blog for a tutorial on this).

  • Step 2

    Toast the ground almonds in a small pan over medium heat, just until they are very lightly golden and smell gorgeous. Tip it out into a small bowl and leave to cool.

  • Step 3

    Chop the chocolate and place it in a medium-sized heatproof jug with the Amaretto. Pour over the just-boiled water and leave for a few minutes for the chocolate to melt. Whisk until smooth.

  • Step 4

    Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda and xanthan gum into a medium bowl. Add the cooled toasted ground almonds and whisk to combine well.

  • Step 5

    Beat together the butter, caster sugar, brown sugar and vanilla on medium-high speed until very light and fluffy. Use a stand mixer if you have one, or a hand-held mixer and a large bowl will do.

    Whisk the eggs together in a small jug or bowl, and add them gradually to the butter and sugar, beating well between additions.

  • Step 6

    Turn the mixer down to low speed and add the flour mixture and the chocolate mixture alternately, beating briefly between additions. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the sour cream, and beat on low speed until combined.

  • Step 7

    Pour into the prepared tin, cover with the foil lid and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

    Allow the cake to cool for an hour, then cover the tin with foil and leave the cake to cool completely in the tin overnight.

  • Step 8

    To Make the Ganache:
    Heat the cream in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, just until the cream begins to boil. Remove from the heat, stir in the Amaretto. Add the chopped chocolate, gently shimmy the pan until the chocolate is covered by the cream, then leave it for several minutes. Slowly and gently stir until the chocolate and cream combine. If there are still unmelted pieces of chocolate, return the pan to a very low heat, and stir constantly until the chocolate is fully melted and the ganache is smooth.

    Pour the ganache into a large bowl and leave to cool. Once cool, cover with plastic wrap and leave the ganache to set overnight.

  • Step 9

    To Fill the Cake:
    Heat the oven to 180°C. Place the almonds into a baking tray and toast in the oven for 5 minutes, or until lightly golden. Keep an eye on them, you don’t want them to get too dark. Leave to cool, then roughly chop. (Set aside a few whole almonds for decoration, if desired)

    Split the cake into four even layers. Gently heat the ganache in the microwave until it softens to the consistency of peanut butter. Spread some ganache onto the first layer of cake, sprinkle with 1/3 of the almonds. Place the next layer of cake on top, press down gently, then continue stacking the cake layers with ganache and almonds. Ganache the outside of the cake. If covering with fondant, leave the ganache overnight to set.

    Or, decorate the cake with some whole, roasted almonds (I also used some honey roasted almonds)

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