This moist and decadent chocolate loaf cake with a gorgeous caramelised almond brittle crust is sure to have you sneaking back to the tin for more
CHOCOLATE, ORANGE & ALMOND CAKE
Makes 1 large loaf
50g butter, diced
130g soft brown sugar
Zest of 1 orange
150g flaked almonds
170g plain flour
50g cocoa powder
11⁄4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
225g softened butter
340g caster sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
1⁄2 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped out (or 1⁄2 tsp vanilla paste)
1 Preheat oven to 160C/Fan140C/320F. Grease and line a 9x22x10cm loaf tin.
2 Melt the 50g of butter, brown sugar, zest and honey in a pan over a low heat, stirring, until thick and syrupy and the sugar has dissolved. Pour into the prepared tin, evenly sprinkle over the almonds. Set aside to cool.
3 In a bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa and bicarb with 1⁄4 tsp of salt, then set aside. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
4 In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and vanilla seeds (or paste). With the mixer running slowly, gradually add the eggs to the butter mixture, ensuring each addition is fully
incorporated before adding the next.
5 Alternate between adding a third of the dry ingredients and a third of the buttermilk to the mixture, mixing well between each addition, until all the ingredients are added and the batter has just come together.
6 Pour over the almonds in the tin; bake for 60–70 mins, until firm and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
7 Leave to cool for a few minutes in the tin, then set a wire rack over a tray lined with
baking parchment. Invert the warm cake on to the rack and gently lift off the tin, taking care to avoid the caramel, which will be extremely hot*. Leave to cool completely.
8 To serve, cut with a serrated knife, gently sawing through the topping. The cake will keep for a few days in an airtight container.
Recipe from The Tivoli Road Baker by Michael James with Pippa James (Hardie Grant).
* If the topping sticks in the tin or falls off when you invert the cake, use a spoon or spatula to quickly stick it back onto the cake, taking care not to touch the scorching caramel.
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