Chocolate Cake with Marsala Cream (12)

A rich chocolate cake for Christmas from Diana Henry.

Chocolate Cake with Marsala Cream (12)
Print Recipe
Chocolate Cake with Marsala Cream (12)
Print Recipe
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/170C fan/gas mark 4. Butter and line a 23cm springform tin.
  2. Put the dried fruit into a small saucepan with the Marsala. Bring to the boil then immediately remove from the heat. Leave the fruit to plump up for at least 30 minutes, by which time almost all the liquid should be absorbed.
  3. Melt the butter and sugar in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water). Add the chocolate, stirring to help it melt. Remove the bowl and leave it to cool a little.
  4. Toast the walnuts and hazelnuts lightly in a dry pan over a medium heat, then chop very roughly (you want some good big bits in the cake).
  5. Add the egg yolks to the chocolate along with the zest, spices, candied peel, dried fruit (plus soaking liquid), chopped nuts and chestnuts.
  6. Whisk the egg whites until they’re stiff but not dry. Add a big tablespoon of the whites to the chocolate mixture to loosen it, then fold in the rest, along with the ground almonds. Mix lightly so you don’t knock all the air out of the egg whites.
  7. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes. The cake will feel set in the middle, but the skewer test doesn’t really work because it stays very moist in the centre until it has cooled.
  8. Remove from the oven and leave in the tin for about 20 minutes, then carefully remove the surround. When it has completely cooled remove the base from the cake – it will be fragile in the middle so handle it carefully. Dust with cocoa powder or icing sugar.
  9. In a small saucepan, heat the raisins in the Marsala for the cream. When it’s just under boiling point, turn the heat off and leave the raisins to plump up and cool completely.
  10. Whip the cream and stir in the crème fraîche. Add the raisins with their soaking liquid. Taste, adding sugar to sweeten (however much you feel you need).
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