This rich, sweet and indulgent brownie cake has a lightly crisp top, a not quite set middle and the smell while it bakes is incredible.
There are many helpful comments on the BBC Good Food recipe; I learned that I should add an extra egg to keep the mixture from crumbling (it's still a bit crumbly) and use a 20cm tin to prevent the cake from turning out too flat (the recipe itself advises using a tin between 20–25cm - no wonder one commenter ended up with a "frisbee of disappointment").
I've made this cake several times in a 20cm tin and it turns out flat no matter how carefully I fold in the egg whites (see the second photo). This time I used my 18cm loose bottomed tin and the finished cake stood tall and proud. I should say that the batter needed 1 hour 10 minutes in the oven and I had to cover it after 40 minutes to prevent the top from burning but still, this version looked impressive. The outside was chewy, the middle was moist and it didn't resemble a frisbee. It's ever so slightly drier around the edges because of the extra time in the oven but I usually eat the cake with cream or ice cream so it's barely noticeable. (Update: I've made this cake a few more times and returned to my 20cm tin. It's quicker and no one has ever complained that the cake wasn't tall enough.)
Nuts are definitely needed in this incredibly sweet recipe; they add texture and make the cake more interesting.
The cake in the first photo was made in an 18cm tin and the one in the second photo was made in a 20cm tin.
My 18cm cake tin is loose bottomed rather than springform so I butter it generously to make sure that the cake doesn't stick.
When folding the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, start by mixing a couple of tablespoons in first. This loosens the mixture and helps the remaining egg whites fold in more easily without losing too much air.
- 175g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
- 175g dark chocolate (broken into chunks, around 60%-70% cocoa solids)
- 200g caster sugar
- 4 medium eggs, separated
- 65g plain flour
- 50g chopped pecans
- 50g white chocolate (cut into small chunks)
- icing sugar for dusting
- Preheat your oven to 180°C (160°C fan) and line and generously butter an 18cm or 20cm cake tin (springform if possible).
- Add 175g of dark chocolate, 175g of unsalted butter and 200g of sugar into a saucepan and place over a low heat. Stir occasionally until everything has melted then leave to cool a little.
- Add 4 egg yolks into the chocolate mixture and stir, then add 65g of plain flour, 50g of chopped pecans, and 50g of white chocolate chunks.
- Whisk 4 egg whites until they form soft peaks then gently fold a couple of tablespoons into the chocolate mixture. Once fully combined, carefully fold in the rest of the egg whites.
- Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 40 minutes.
- Remove the cake from the oven. If using a 20cm cake tin the cake might be done at this point - test it with a skewer - it should come out with a few crumbs clinging to it as the middle should be a little moist.
- If using an 18cm cake tin, cover the top loosely with tin foil then put it back in the oven for another 20 minutes.
- Test the cake with a skewer to check if it's done. If the middle of the cake is very moist, bake for another 5-10 minutes.
- Once the cake is done, leave to cool then slide a knife around the edge and carefully remove it from the tin. Dust the top with icing sugar and serve with cream or ice cream.