Decadent Chocolate Almond Cake with Sour Cream Icing

Decadent Chocolate Almond Cake with Sour Cream Icing
Staff Writer

Sylvia McArdle & Stephanie Hannus

The rich dark chocolate and creamy, one-of-a-kind icing in this recipe are worthy of the lords and ladies of Downton Abbey. While later made famous by chef Julia Child, this cake was enjoyed in Europe — and made by chefs like Mrs. Patmore — for years before Julia Child came around.

Notes

The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook (F+W Media, September 2012) By Emily Ansara Baines

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 4  Ounces  high-quality semisweet chocolate, melted
  • 2  Tablespoons  ground coffee granules
  • stick unsalted butter, softened, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1  Cup  granulated sugar
  • egg yolks
  • 1  Teaspoon  bourbon vanilla extract
  • egg whites
  • 1  Teaspoon  kosher salt
  • 1/2  Cup  crushed almonds
  • 1/2  Teaspoon  almond extract
  • 1/2  Cup  cake flour, sifted

For the icing

  • 8  Ounces  high-quality semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1  Teaspoon  instant espresso powder
  • 1 1/4  Cup  sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1/2  Cup  corn syrup
  • 1  Teaspoon  kosher salt
  • 1  Teaspoon  vanilla extract

Directions

For the cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour one 8-inch round baking pan.

Place the chocolate and ground coffee in the top of a double-boiler. Stir until chocolate is thoroughly melted, then remove from heat.

Cream together the butter and sugar for several minutes until they form a pale fluffy mixture.

In a small bowl, beat together the egg yolks with the vanilla extract, then add to the butter-sugar mixture and thoroughly combine.

In another small bowl, beat the egg whites and salt together until soft peaks are formed.

Pour the melted chocolate into the butter-sugar mixture and thoroughly mix. Then mix in almonds and almond extract. Immediately stir in a quarter of the egg-white mixture so as to lighten the cake. Then mix in the cake flour in small amounts, alternating with the rest of the egg whites.

Turn the batter into the cake pan, then bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. The cake is done when it has puffed and a toothpick inserted around the circumference comes out clean while another stuck in the middle comes out slightly oily.

Allow the cake to cool for 15 minutes. Loosen the cake rim with a knife, then reverse it onto a cooling rack. Allow to thoroughly cool for 1-2 hours before icing. 

For the icing

Mix together the chocolate and espresso powder in the top of a double-boiler. Stir until the chocolate is melted. Remove from the heat and let the chocolate cool until tepid.

In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the sour cream, corn syrup, salt, and vanilla extract. Slowly add the chocolate and stir quickly until the mixture is uniform. Let the icing cool in refrigerator until it is a spreadable consistency, no more than 25 minutes. Spread over the cake with a spatula and then decorate with a design of chopped almonds. 

Nutritional Facts

Total Fat
42g
60%
Sugar
32g
36%
Saturated Fat
15g
63%
Cholesterol
30mg
10%
Carbohydrate, by difference
72g
55%
Protein
10g
22%
Vitamin A, RAE
77µg
11%
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid
1mg
1%
Vitamin K (phylloquinone)
2µg
2%
Calcium, Ca
106mg
11%
Choline, total
18mg
4%
Fiber, total dietary
11g
44%
Fluoride, F
1µg
0%
Folate, total
32µg
8%
Iron, Fe
3mg
17%
Magnesium, Mg
66mg
21%
Manganese, Mn
2mg
100%
Niacin
2mg
14%
Phosphorus, P
164mg
23%
Selenium, Se
5µg
9%
Sodium, Na
99mg
7%
Water
62g
2%
Zinc, Zn
1mg
13%

Chocolate Shopping Tip

There are so many varieties of chocolate on the shelves today it can be overwhelming to pick one – as a general rule of thumb, the fewer the ingredients, the better the chocolate.

Chocolate Cooking Tip

When melting chocolate, use a double boiler and stir occasionally to avoid scorching chocolate at the bottom of the bowl.

Chocolate Wine Pairing

Sweet chenin blanc, muscat, or amontillado sherry with nut-based desserts; sauternes or sweet German wines with pound cake, cheesecake, and other mildly sweet desserts; sweet chenin blanc or muscat or Alsatian vendange tardive (late harvest) wines with sweeter desserts; sweet chenin blanc or muscat or Alsatian vendange tardive (late harvest) wines, port, madeira, late-harvest zinfandel, or cabernet sauvignon or cabernet franc with chocolate desserts.