So what has inner peace got to do with almond espresso chocolate cake? Quite a lot in my experience.
I am seeking purpose in my life.
Eckhart Tolle tells me it is my inner purpose that matters most, to be present in this moment. To live consciously by accepting what is. So, I have been trying to do that, whole heartedly. I am deeply grateful for the life I have, it is a wonderful life, so when I completely accept that my purpose is to serve my family, be the best mother, wife, sister, friend, employee I can be and to live a simple and mindful life, you can imagine how frustrating it is when that little voice keeps whispering to me…but really, is that enough?
Because truthfully, I feel that it is not enough.
So I continue to seek, to discover my true calling, my outer purpose. That thing I’m passionate about, inspired by. My gifts, my talents. That thing that I do.
I’m trying to let it go. To just live each day mindfully. To release attachment to outcomes. To allow kindness, loving unconditionally and being deeply present to be enough.
And when it’s not, when I need to be doing and not just being, I make this chocolate cake. It serves as a distraction of the best kind. Baking requires concentration, focus. It demands that we are present. For me, it’s the perfect way to get out of my head and into the moment.
Almond Espresso Chocolate Cake
I have only a handful of cakes in my repertoire and this is one of them. It is rich, decadent and perfectly compatible with generous folds of softly whipped cinnamon cream. The espresso offers more depth than flavour so add more if you really want to taste it. In the summer, I adorn this slightly bitter, chocolate creation with a mixture of fresh berries and in the winter the crunch of toasted almond flakes work just as well. You could just go with a dusting of good quality cocoa powder.
My almond espresso chocolate cake is naturally gluten free.
- 200g good quality dark chocolate (70%, I like Green and Black's)
- 125g unsalted butter
- 220g rapadura sugar
- 100g almond meal
- 1-2 tablespoons of good quality espresso powder
- 5 organic or free range eggs, separated
- 1 cup of cream
- ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
- Fresh berries or toasted almond flakes to decorate
- Preheat the oven to 180C (160C for fan force) and lightly grease and line a 22cm, spring form baking tin.
- Melt the chocolate and butter together in a heat proof bowl set atop a pot of barely simmering water, taking care that the hot water does not touch to chocolate bowl. Stir occasionally to help it along and once it is melted, set aside to cool slightly.
- Add the sugar, almond meal and espresso powder to the chocolate and mix well. Add the egg yolks one at a time, stirring well to incorporate between each addition.
- Using a stand mixer or hand held beaters, place the egg whites in a clean, dry bowl and whisk until firm peaks form. Slowly fold the egg whites through the chocolate mixture taking care not to knock out all the air. Be gentle.
- Transfer the mixture to the cake tin and bake for approximately 40-45 minutes depending on your oven. You will know the cake is ready once the edges are set and coming away slightly from the sides of the tin. The centre should be set but soft. It is not a good idea to overcook this cake as it can become dry.
- Allow the cake to cool in the tin before removing it and transferring to a serving platter. It will collapse a little in the centre which is perfectly normal!
- Serve with the cinnamon cream and berries or some toasted flaked almonds.
- To make the cinnamon cream, simply place the cream and cinnamon in a bowl and beat or whisk until soft peaks form. I use the hand held beaters for this job. You can add a tablespoon of icing sugar if desired but I rarely bother.
If you are a chocolate and espresso lover like I am, be sure to try my Chocolate Hazelnut Espresso Slice.