Tag Archives: cake

Rich milk chocolate date and almond gateau

So: here's the recipe, scroll further down for the blabla story that other blogs put before the repice. I personally prefer the reverse: tell me how to do it, then tell me why this dish matters to you. 己所不欲勿施於人 as Confucius said. (Do not do to others as you wouldn't have done to yourself.1 )

Grab a 25 cm/10inch sandwich tin (I use one with a removable bottom), and a few mixing bowls, then gather the following ingredients, and follow the instructions below:


  • 175g (6oz) unsalted butter
  • 250g (9oz) good quality milk chocolate. For my US-based friends: Trader Joe's Imported Belgian Chocolate is excellent, I personally vouch for it.
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 125g (4oz) light brown sugar
  • 175g (6oz) ground almonds
  • 100g (3 1/2oz) whole almonds crushed
  • 150g (5oz) medjool dates (or poach ordinary dates in water and sugar for ± 3 mins), cut in small pieces


  1. Grease the sandwich tin, and line the base with a circle of grease-proof paper
  2. Preheat the oven to 170C (325F, gas mark 3)
  3. Melt butter and chocolate together au bain-marie or in microwave
  4. Beat the whole three eggs with egg yolks and sugar until the mixture is pale and thick.
  5. Add the ground almonds, the crushed almonds and the dates to that mixture, combine well
  6. Incorporate the butter and chocolate mixture
  7. Pour everything into the sandwich tin and bake for about 50 mins. (I needed to add another 15mins, but our oven is geriatric and temperamental)
  8. Leave to cool before turning out
  9. Decorate with an icing sugar pattern right before serving, if you fancy


Icing decoration optional, but tasty!

On Christmas day we had not prepared the quiche that was murmured about – that one had fallen by the wayside. Just as well, so there was a small pie-shaped hole still available for our guests to try out this gateau. (I know I called it a torte in that previous post but to err is human.) Everyone enjoyed it, after all the other delights we served – including a gorgeous Yule log. Just look at that picture!

Our reindeer decoration approves of the Yule Log.

Anyways: it's still as good as I remember, and it reminded me of a very thick brownie with added pizzazz: ever so slightly crunchy on top, moist and substantially chocolatey on the inside, and almond flavour everywhere. My cousin compared it to frangipane but with chocolate, and that's the almonds talking.

This thing was so delish we even saved the crumbs from my clumsy cutting effort for the next day. (Tip: use a sharp knife and a decisive cut.) The Belgian Army didn't show up, neither did the Navy, to help us out, so we hid the rest of the cake in the freezer, because there was serious temptation to eat all the leftovers in one go and that might not have ended well. We're now slowly munching our way through it one piece at a time. We're tempted by cake, not by new year's resolutions here!

This yummy piece of cake survived the freezer effortlessly.

  1. Analects 12:2

Feeding an army (chocolate torte edition)

I'm sure you know the situation: family members (3 people) have been invited for a holiday dinner, with the promise of "something simple, not like you folks do." Then you let it all go for a couple of days and next thing you know, you pick up murmurings of a quiche for opening nibble, and a brunoise has miraculously appeared in the kitchen ("That's the soup. I'm not sure yet there will be a starter but I might do something yet."), and there is some coordination to pick up the guinea fowl and then somebody (not me) is hunting through recipe books to find the right sauce to go with the veggies. At least, I comfort myself, we have the cakes covered: picking up a Yule log from the local baker's is a safe bet. He makes great cakes, we like 'em. Ganache-covered option for us, of course, we're Belgian.

That was until I bumped about four days ago into a dead link on the newspaper website, for an Almond Chocolate Cake and I said "Oh well, I do have a good recipe for that anyway."
"Oh? You do?" piped up my housemate. Yeah, I do. Somewhere...

Next thing I know, I'm digging in the garage amid the piles of boxes with my stuff from the US, for my handwritten recipe notebook; we're strategising about the egg yolks that are left over from the brunoise; and somehow milk chocolate and dates have appeared in the pantry so resistance is futile: all ingredients are in the house. The almond-chocolate cake torte (as the recipe calls it) shall exist.

Just one small thing I had forgotten in the 13 or so years since I last made this thing: it's rather dense and even with its innocent measure of a 25cm sandwich tin it will feed the entire Belgian army (if we cut small slices, part of the navy too). How on earth five of us will manage to tackle this thing after an extended dinner and a Yule log is beyond me, but: I was requested to contribute this torte, and I have complied.

On Monday we'll get to try it out, and if it passes muster, I'll share the recipe. Hold on tight!

Stitch pulling a very airy chocolate cake that has risen to fill the entire inside of the oven, out of the oven.
Nope, it's not that fluffy...