September is always a busy month for my family; so busy that as usual, this year we didn’t have time to get together to celebrate my sister’s birthday, my daughter’s birthday, my father’s birthday, my niece’s birthday and a nephew’s birthday that had been even a little bit earlier than the others.
So in October everyone found a gap in their schedules to meet on a sunny Sunday at a clubhouse down on the beach. We thought we might also be celebrating the birth of my sister’s baby but no, she’s 38 weeks and the baby’s not showing any sign of an early arrival.
Archie was unable to join us as he has weekend work in a cafe but otherwise we were in full attendance. Whispers were going around about how tired Arabella looked and I had to confess she had had a few late nights going to unnecessary parties but was now probably stressed as well as tired because she had a psychology essay due first thing Monday morning.
Everyone was responsible for bringing one part of the meal. I brought my bottle of French champagne that came from the billionaires. It was a rose champagne that was very pretty with a lovely pink hue.
I also brought some marinated pork skewers that were put on the bar-be-cue and served with a peanut satay dipping sauce.
One of my sister’s brought ingredients to make a Thai beef salad with a very large eye fillet of beef going on the bar-be-cue also.
Just as the lunch was being served someone asked me, ‘Where’s Arabella?’ I looked around and to be sure, she was no where to be seen. I tried phoning her but her phone was engaged. I told everyone not to worry and suggested we go ahead and eat and so we did. But just as I was about to have my first mouthful Miss Arabella sent me a text message saying she’d just broken up with her boyfriend and was walking home in a flood of tears. As the boyfriend hadn’t been at the family function this must have been one of those modern, ‘over-the-phone’ break-ups – just a step up from the break-up via fax. So that was it for Miss Arabella. Off home to her teenage dramas and her uni essay. After the main course we had the birthday cake that I had made. It’s a very dense, rich and moist cake that happens to be gluten-free. It’s a very easy cake to make and doesn’t require a food processor, blender or mixer. You do however have to start making the cake a day ahead as it needs to rest in the fridge overnight. Then the next day you ice it in a ganache then decorate with strawberries. As this is a very dense cake it is best served in small wedges with a serving of berries on the side to cut through the richness.
Gluten-Free Choc-Nut Cake Serves: 10-12 Degree of Difficulty: 3/10 Cost: The only expensive ingredient is the chocolate but considering the cake serves 10-12, it’s a very moderately priced dessert. Serve with fresh berries and if not in season, thawed frozen berries would be a economic alternative.
- ½ cup (50g) cocoa powder
- ½ cup (125ml) hot water
- 1½ cups (330g) firmly packed brown sugar
- 220g unsalted butter, chopped coarsely
- 200g dark eating chocolate, chopped coarsely
- 1½ cups (150g) hazelnut meal
- 6 eggs, beaten lightly
- 250g strawberries, sliced thinly
- 3/4 cup (180ml) cream
- 300g dark eating chocolate, chopped coarsely
Preheat oven to 170°C/150°C fan-forced (340F/300F fan-forced). Grease a 25cm-round springform tin; line base and side with baking paper. Blend cocoa with the water in medium saucepan until smooth. Add sugar, butter and chocolate; stir over low heat until smooth. Remove from heat. Stand chocolate mixture about 15 minutes or until barely warm. Stir in meal and egg. Pour mixture into tin. Bake cake about 1 hour 40 minutes. Cool cake in tin. Refrigerate, covered, 3 hours or overnight. Meanwhile, make chocolate ganache. Place cake onto serving plate. Cover with ganache, decorate with strawberries. For the Ganache: Bring cream to the boil in small saucepan. Remove from heat, add chocolate; stir until smooth. Stand 20 minutes before using. To decorate, I placed the cake upside down on a cake stand because that was the most level surface. I used a metal spatula to move the ganache around the cake then stuck the strawberries into the sides before the ganache had time to set, (it will harden quickly because the cake is cold).
This recipe has been adapted from The Australian Women’s Weekly, Moist Flourless Choc-Nut Cake. If you like this post, you’re welcome to share it!