chocolate torte made with oil instead of butter. I considered Nigella's recipe, but that only used cocoa, and I wanted something a bit more luxurious, and more like the torte I usually make.
This particular recipe uses mainly ground almonds plus two tablespoons of gluten-free flour for stabilising the structure, but I'm pretty sure you could increase the almonds a little if you didn't want to buy gluten-free flour just to use such a small amount (although most cooks have cornflour!), and I saw one version online which used cocoa instead of the gluten-free flour. I stuck with extra-virgin olive oil, for added flavour, but any oil would work, and if you were using a flavoured chocolate you might prefer a more neutral oil.
Although the recipe suggests that a 9" springform tin would be OK, I made the torte in an 8" tin and think it would be too shallow in anything larger; if I only had a 9" tin, I think I would up the eggs to 5 and increase the other ingredients in proportion. Also be careful not to overcook - at 160C, my cake was cooked in 35 minutes.
One added bonus of this cake is that it kept really well. I made it on Tuesday and the last piece, eaten on Sunday, was as good as the first! It is a moist cake and although it's quite dense in texture, it doesn't feel dense or cloying in the mouth. Obviously the flavour depends on the chocolate chosen, and whether or not you use olive oil or something blander, but I didn't find EVOO to be overwhelming - it just added another depth to the flavour. However, I didn't add extra oil and salt to serve - I thought that might be a little too far out for my rather conservative friends! I offered a mixed fruit coulis (forest fruits, blackberries and redcurrants) along with cream, for those who could eat it, for the birthday lunch, and finished up the cake with the home-grown strawberries you can see in the photos.
I also made this delicious Rhubarb and Orange Cake from the Waitrose recipe bank. It's long been a favourite, although I don't make it often enough, as I'm always looking for new recipes to try, so that I have something new to write about. This is a really moist dessert cake; it's more like pieces of rhubarb held together by a small amount of almond and orange sponge batter, than a cake with rhubarb in it! Unfortunately in the rush of preparation and then my hosting duties, I didn't get a photograph - you'll just have to take my word that it looked like the picture with the recipe!