It’s a simple flourless chocolate cake, made with melted Theo chocolate, cocoa powder, butter, and other goodies. I added in some almonds and an extra bit of sea salt because salted almond is my favorite chocolate pairing, and topped the cake with some fresh wild violets from the garden. The violets are completely optional, I just like them because they add a bit of color and life to an otherwise plain-looking and very disc-like cake.
They are so preposterously and delightfully cushy and delicate that you can undoubtedly eat twelve in a solitary sitting; no somewhat extreme outside covering of any sort, it’s quite recently all great, smooshy vaporous sweetness. This is both a brilliant and extremely risky thing.
A lot of people make them in cast iron skillets, but I like making mine in copper pans, like this 28 cm Falk au gratin pan. The copper holds heat really well and distributes it evenly, and it’s also much lighter than cast iron, which makes the hot pan much more manageable when you’re trying to take it in and out of the oven several times.
If it generally sticks together when you let go, it is fine. If it completely crumbles apart, it needs another tablespoon or two of water. Once the dough holds its shape, divide it into two balls, cover each with plastic wrap and place them the refrigerator.
I didn’t have to stir it quite as often as I usually do when I make jam, and I think it was because the heat was coming at the peaches equally from all sides of the pot which helped cook everything at the same pace, and made my cooking job easier since I didn’t have to hover around the pot.
Salted Almond Chocolate Cake with Violets
For the topping, I simmered down some rhubarb with fresh strawberries, sugar, a dash of water, and the husk of the vanilla bean pod that was left after I scraped it out. This made the most refreshing & tangy syrup with a wonderfully sweet but not overly so flavor that only vanilla can bring.
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon espresso powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon hazelnut extract
1/2 cup Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup chopped almonds
flaked sea salt (optional garnish)2/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh wild violets (optional garnish)
- Grease a roughly 9 x 13-inch baking dish with vegetable oil (the pan should be at least 2-inches deep and the sides should be greased as well).
- Melt the chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler until smooth, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and stir in the granulated and brown sugars, espresso powder, salt, vanilla, and hazelnut extracts.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment stir together the gelatin and cold water and let stand while you prepare the syrup.
- To prepare the syrup, bring the 1/2 cup room temperature water, sugar, corn syrup, honey, and salt to a simmer over low heat. When the sugar has dissolved completely, raise the heat to medium and bring the mixture to a boil without stirring. Bring the temperature of the syrup to 250 degrees Fahrenheit, using a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, almond meal, cinnamon, and salt until blended. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and blend until the dough just comes together. Form the dough into two separate balls, cover in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour and up to overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Roll out one of the balls of dough until it is 1/4-inch thick. Use your cookie cutter to cut out all the cookie shapes and transfer them to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Make sure to cut out an even number of each shape, since you will need two of each shape to make the linzer cookie sandwich.
Tips: If you’re making the vanilla bean & rose marshmallows, add the vanilla bean paste, vanilla extract, & rose water during the last minute or two of mixing and continue mixing until they’re evenly distributed and there aren’t any streaks of tan from the vanilla extract.
Since most other folks just bring booze, the cookies are always a welcome addition. I made the filling two different ways here, for the first one I cooked down some cranberries with sugar, then mixed that with Vermont Creamery, mascarpone cheese and spices for a tangy, cheesecake-y, and slightly sweet filling. For the other, I sliced persimmons and boiled them in a cinnamon syrup until they softened, then I cut shapes out of them with a cookie cutter so that they would fit in the linzer cookie sandwiches.
It’s also a great way to use emptied vanilla bean pods; if you’re ever making a recipe that calls for them, try to save the husk and incorporate it into a jam or syrup later down the line for some decadently intense flavor. I also made a cinnamon vanilla whipped cream, which brought another bit of warmth to the dish through the cozy cinnamon flavors and the light and fluffy cream.
You can store them in a hermetically sealed compartment for up to 2 weeks, simply ensure not the open them to free-streaming air for an augmented timeframe else they will get stale and the surface won’t be as decent and fleecy.