From her stunning and beautifully illustrated new book, Gateau, Aleksandra makes a cake that’s just sweet enough to satisfy any sweet tooth. Here’s what she has to say about the recipe:
Dark chocolate and candied orange give this cake an almost confection-like flavor, but it is not too sweet and, thanks to its sturdiness, can travel for le weekend. Serve for dessert with a dollop of crème fraîche or all day, in thick slices, with coffee or, at midnight, with a snifter of Cognac. On the third day, try it toasted and blanketed in marmalade. In fact, a marmalade glaze will add a sweet pucker. Either warm a jar of marmalade until liquefied, strain and pour over the cake, or make a proper glaze by straining, then adding in a little confectioners’ sugar. About the almond paste. I use Odense. This recipe requires five ounces, which is most, but not all, of one tube. I simply chop up the remaining two ounces and add it with the chocolate chunks. Ideally, the paste should be quite fresh. If stale, you may need to break it up in a food processor.
Makes one 9-by-5-inch loaf
- 13 tablespoons unsalted butter, preferably European
- 1 1⁄2 cups (180 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (40 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Valrhona
- 1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1⁄4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 5 ounces (140 grams) almond paste, such as Odense
- 3⁄4 cup plus 1 tablespoon (165 grams) granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup whole milk, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon Cointreau or Grand Marnier
- 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 80 grams dark chocolate, broken into chunks or 3⁄4 cup chocolate chips
- 1⁄2 cup candied orange, roughly chopped into 1⁄2-inch pieces
Make the Cake
- Preheat the oven to 340°F. Butter a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan and place it on a baking sheet. Melt the butter over low heat and set aside to cool until warm but not hot.
- Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt and whisk to combine. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer or using handheld electric beaters, beat the almond paste and sugar until sandy in texture. One at a time, at medium speed, add the eggs. Increase the speed to high and whisk for a solid 10 minutes until the mixture forms pale ribbons in its wake. Decrease the speed to low and add the milk, Cointreau and vanilla and whisk until integrated. Add the dry ingredients and continue to whisk at low speed to fully integrate them.
- Using a rubber spatula, fold in the chocolate and candied orange. Then, finally, the melted butter.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 55–65 minutes. A knife inserted in the center should come out nearly, but not completely, clean. If it comes out wet with chocolate, you may have simply hit a chunk or chip. In that case, test again rather than risk overbaking the cake. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then unmold and allow to cool to room temperature.
- If storing this cake overnight, wrap it well, once fully cooled to room temperature, in plastic. Leave it at room temperature and it will remain moist for 2 to 3 days, if kept wrapped. If freezing it, place the wrapped cake in a freezer bag and eat within a month or so.
Excerpted from Gateau by Aleksandra Crapanzano. Copyright (c) 2022 by Aleksandra Crapanzano. Reprinted by permission of Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc.