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Chocolate + cake = reasons to stay alive

A recent study found that 76% of people in the UK are one bad Italian dessert away from a complete breakdown.

In a bid to prevent that, I present this week’s recipe for torta Caprese.

A moist, dense, rich, and flourless chocolate and almond cake from the island of Capri. A real crowdpleaser and one for chocolate lovers.

This week’s album
Awaken, My Love! by Childish Gambino

Childish Gambino is the stage name for actor/singer/rapper/producer/writer/director/comedian and general superstar Donald Glover. This album is very different to the two that came before it, stepping away from rap and embracing funk. The production is incredible. ‘Redbone’ is exceptional and, in my opinion, it alone makes the album a success.

Flour-less but flavour-full

Torta Caprese is a really easy to make, but no less delicious, dessert. Perfect as an indulgent pudding with ice cream, or as a small treat alongside a cup of coffee.

Rumour has it, torta Caprese was invented by mistake. The chef, Carmine Di Fiore, forgot to add flour when making a cake. Having not realised, he baked the cake as normal and the end result became an instant hit. 

It’s more moist than your average cake and more dense (but in a good way as it’s so beautifully soft).

Although it belongs to Capri (torta Caprese literally means ‘cake from Capri’) it has become hugely popular and can be found all over Naples and most of Campania. There it’s affectionately known as ‘a very fortunate mistake’.

Torta Caprese is basically an easier and more almond-y version of chocolate nemesis (above).

In terms of ingredients, some use walnuts instead of almonds. I’ve gone for the latter which you can buy already ground or grind yourself.

If doing it yourself, or you want to use walnuts, toast the nuts for 5 mins in a hot oven. Leave them to cool completely. Then blend in a food processor until you achieve the consistency of coarse flour.

What you need

The below serves 8. It takes 25 mins to prep and 25-30 mins to cook.

225g dark chocolate (best quality)

100g unsalted butter (softened)

4 eggs (separated)

150g icing sugar

150g ground almonds

Sea salt

Ready, steady, cook

1. Preheat your oven to 180°c/160°c fan. Grease a loose-bottom cake tin with a little butter. I used a 23cm cake tin, but if you want to double the recipe you’ll need a 28-30cm tin.

2. Break up the chocolate into small pieces and add to a heatproof bowl along with the butter. Melt over a pot of gently simmering water (making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water). Once melted, set aside to cool.

3. Add the egg whites and a pinch of salt (to help stabilise the eggs) to a different bowl and whisk until they form soft peaks. Set aside in the fridge.

4. Add the sugar and egg yolks to another bowl and whisk until light and fluffy.

NOTE 1: all the whisking is best done with an electric whisk or stand mixer (you can do by hand but it will take longer). 

NOTE 2: whisk the egg whites first so you don’t have to wash the whisk before doing the yolks. A little white in the yolk is fine. Conversely, a tiny amount of yolk in the whites would prevent them from aerating properly.

5. Once the chocolate and butter mixture has slightly cooled, add it to the yolk and sugar mixture. Mix thoroughly, using a spatula, until completely combined.

Add in the ground almonds and mix to combine again. At this stage the mixture will thicken a lot but don’t worry. Everything comes good in the next step.

6. Gently fold in the egg whites. Start by taking about ⅓ of the egg whites and mixing it through, without too much care, until fully combined. Take another ⅓ and, this time, gently fold through until combined. Finally, gently fold through the remaining egg whites until you’re left with one uniform mixture.

7. Pour everything into the greased cake tin. Bang it gently on the work surface to level it out. Transfer to the oven.

8. Cook for 25-30 mins. It should form a slight crust when it is ready. I found 25 minutes was perfect but it'll vary slightly depending on your oven and the size of the cake tin.

NOTE: using a skewer to test this cake won’t really work as it will always remain very moist.

9. Allow to cool for about 30 mins before removing from the cake tin. Dust with a little icing sugar to finish. For maximum pleasure, serve while still warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Final thought

Got some leftovers? You can keep your torta in an airtight container once cool. It will last for a few days.

Enjoy your time in the kitchen,


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Eat My Words · Kew Gardens · Kew, TW9 · United Kingdom

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