1¼ cups caster sugar
¾ cup good cocoa powder ( used Valrhona)
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
¼ teaspoon sea salt
150 grams butter, diced
2 large eggs, size 7 (cold from the fridge)
⅓ cup ground almonds (almond meal)
1 cup roasted, whole skin-on almonds, roughly chopped
⅓ cup roughly chopped dark chocolate (62% cocoa)
Grease 10 holes of a standard muffin tray and line the bases with a circle of baking paper. You can also line them with cupcake cases if preferred.
Preheat the oven to 160°C fan bake.
Put the sugar, cocoa, water, vanilla and salt in a bowl and set aside.
Place the butter in a medium saucepan over a medium heat. When melted, cook until it turns a good golden colour and smells lovely and nutty, swirling the pan for even cooking. This can take 5 minutes. Take off the heat and immediately stir in the sugar mixture until thick. Let cool for 10 minutes.
Beat in the eggs one at a time until thick and glossy, then beat in the ground almonds. Stir in the roasted almonds.
Spoon the mixture into the tins or cases, filling them almost to the top. Place a small pile of chocolate in the centre of each cake.
Bake for 15 minutes or until the outside edges are set and the middle is still a little soft.
Cool in the tins for 15 minutes then run a small palate knife around the inside of the tins to loosen then carefully lift the cakes out onto a cooling rack. Dust with icing sugar to serve – I’ve topped them with a dollop of whipped cream and blackberry jam. Makes 10
Pantry note: Roasted, skin-on whole almonds are available in the loose bins at supermarkets.