An unusual but magnificent flavour combination – we recommend serving this chocolate fennel cake as a dinner-party dessert.
Chocolate fennel cake
- 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
- 600g good quality dark chocolate (minimum 60 percent), broken into pieces
- 300g butter
- 12 large eggs, separated
- 100g castor sugar
- 2 fennel bulbs, sliced
- 200g castor sugar
- 200ml water
- 250g butter
- 500g icing sugar
- ground fennel seeds
- chocolate scrolls, to serve
- seasonal fruit, to serve (we like raspberries or strawberries)
- candied fruit of your choice, to serve
Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Line the base and sides of 2 x 20cm springform cake tins with baking paper and place the fennel slices on the bases.
Place the chocolate and butter in a metal bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of gently simmering water (the bowl should not touch the water) and melt the chocolate and butter, about 10 minutes.
Whisk the egg yolks with 30ml (2 tbsp) of the sugar for 30 seconds. Stir in the melted chocolate and mix well.
Beat the egg whites with the remaining sugar until very stiff, then fold one third of the egg whites into the chocolate mix. Gently fold in the remainder and pour the mixture into the cake tins.
Place the tins on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 20 – 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them cool. Turn out onto a wire rack and place the cakes in the fridge until needed.
For the candied fennel, place all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Let it simmer for 20 – 30 minutes, then allow to cool.
For the icing, beat all the ingredients together until light and fluffy, and until the mixture has turned white.
Using a hot knife, slice each cake widthways into two. Place one layer on a cake plate, spread a third of the icing over and top with slices of candied fennel. Add the second cake layer and repeat until all the layers are stacked up. Serve with seasonal fruit, chocolate scrolls and candied fruit.
Refrigerating the cakes makes it easier to slice them neatly. A gluten-free chocolate cake like this will set too much if cool, so be sure to bring the cake back to room temperature before serving.