Chocolate and almond is a classic combination. Addition of orange zest here gives it a delicate flavor which compliments chocolate beautifully. It’s very subtle yet gives the cake a secondary flavor profile which most pound cake would lack.
The sliced almond on outside gives a nice crunchy contrast. I like the way it has two different types of cake made in one loaf pan. The cake looks stunning with so many different elements.
The process is little longer than a standard pound cake but results are an absolute delight. Make as regular cake or substitute it for a special occasion. I recommend using a 8 ½” X 4 ½” loaf pan. You will need ganache for this recipe, feel free to use your own recipe of any kind of chocolate you like. Wait for the cake to cool down completely before cutting and putting ganache. Hot cake will melt it very quickly, making a mess.
Recipe from The Art of French Pastry
Serves: 8 to 10
30 grams/ 2 tablespoons soft butter, for the pan
75 grams/ 3/4 cup sliced almonds
16 grams/ 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
60 grams/ 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
80 grams/ 3/4 cup skinless almond flour, sifted
20 grams/ 2 tablespoons cake flour
18 grams/ 2 tablespoons cornstarch
52 grams/ 4 tablespoons/ 1/2 stick butter (if possible french style, 82% fat)
75 grams/ 3/4 cup skinless almond flour, sifted
30 grams/ 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
50 grams/ 3 egg yolks
20 grams/ 2 teaspoons honey
50 grams/ 1 whole egg
5 grams/ 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 lemon zest
1/2 orange zest
160 grams/ 2/3 cup/ 4 1/2 egg whites
80 grams/ 1/3 cup granulated sugar
100 grams/ 1/2 cup ganache (Recipe)
1. Grease the loaf pan with soft butter and sprinkle sliced almonds. Cover all the surface evenly and turn it over a plate so excess falls off. Refrigerate the pan till needed.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degree fahrenheit. Sift cocoa powder, 60 grams confectioner’s sugar and 80 grams almond flour and keep aside. Sift cake flour and cornstarch together and keep in separate bowl.
3. Make brown butter. Heat butter over low heat for about 7 mins till light brown. Strain in small bowl and keep aside.
4. Add 75 grams almond flour, 30 grams confectioner’s sugar, egg yolks, honey, whole egg and vanilla in the stand mixer bowl fitted with the paddle. Mix on medium speed for 5 mins until pale and light. Add brown butter and mix on medium for 30 seconds. Fold both zest in this mixture and cake flour mixture gently.
5. Quickly wash the mixer bowl properly and add egg whites into the bowl fitted with whisk attachment. Add egg whites to it and whisk on medium for 10 seconds. Add granulated sugar and whisk on high for 2 minutes or until semi-stiff.
6.Take out 120 grams of egg white mixture (meringue) and gently fold in the egg yolk mixture. Fold the cocoa mixture in the remaining meringue. Carefully fold the meringue, be gentle and fold only till there are no trace of flour.
7. Add the cocoa mixture to prepared loaf pan and spread evenly on all surface. Scrape the other cake batter into the pan and even it with an offset spatula.Place pan on a sheet pan and bake for 25 minutes at 350 degree fahrenheit. Reduce to 325 degree fahrenheit and bake for 20 minutes.
8. Remove from oven. Immediately unmold on a clean kitchen towel placed on wire rack and keep it wrapped for 2 hours.
9. Slice the cake into half with a long serrated knife. Put the ganache and spread evenly using offset spatula. Place the whole cake back in loaf pan, cover with a plastic wrap. Refrigerate it for at least 45 mins. Get back to room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.