I had such grand plans for my year of being twenty-eight.
It has been a year of the most ridiculously magnificent highs. Moments that I will never, ever forget. As I was getting ready for work this morning, there were some snippets of commentary from the Olympics on the radio. That was all I needed to be back there. Back in that glorious summer.
Needless to say, there were the not quite so great times as well. I lost both my grandmothers this year (which sounds like it should be a line from Oscar Wilde). I spent a good few months feeling pretty sorry for myself. Bad things happened to some of the people I love. It has been a funny old year.
But birthdays are not really supposed to be sad occasions. Birthdays are supposed to be about fun and celebrations and sparkly things.
And, most importantly, birthdays are supposed to be about cake.
Although I nominally did make this cake for my birthday (and enjoyed a slice of it in bed this morning), really this cake is a trial run for Christmas. We have never really enjoyed the traditional Christmas pudding or Christmas cake. In the last couple of years, my contribution to the celebrations has been some kind of chocolate dessert which has proved far more popular.
This recipe is adapted from my lovely friend Sarah who responded to my plaintive plea on twitter for bundt cake recipes. It’s a grown up sort of chocolate cake – fitting for my 29th birthday – rich in dark chocolate with a hint of bitterness from the coffee and a subtle fruitiness from the olive oil. More than anything though, it’s really delicious.
In order to accommodate the dietary needs of my family, I had to make some tweaks to the recipe to make the cake gluten free. The plain flour was replaced with a gluten free flour. The oat flour was replaced with ground almonds. I swapped in yogurt for some of the olive oil to help counteract the chalkiness you sometimes get in gluten free baked goods.
And then I poured a generous helping of salted caramel sauce over the top of it which had nothing to do with making it gluten free but everything to do with my (and my mother’s) love for the stuff.
So happy birthday to me and happy tuesday to you (unless it also happens to be your birthday in which case happy birthday to you too).
Chocolate and salted caramel bundt cake
For the cake:
- 75g (3 oz) dark chocolate (I used 85%), chopped
- 60g (3/4 cup) cocoa powder (plus extra for the tin)
- 240ml (1 cup) hot strong coffee
- 140g (1 1/4 cup) gluten free flour
- 60g (2/3 cup) ground almonds
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda/baking soda
- 1 teaspoon fleur de sel/sea salt
- 360g (2 cups) dark brown soft sugar
- 60ml (1/4 cup) extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons plain greek yogurt
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 75g (1/3 cup) caster/granulated sugar
- 60ml (1/4 cup) double/heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon fleur de sel/sea salt
- 25g (1 2/3 tablespoon) unsalted butter
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Grease a 12-cup bundt tin well with butter and dust with cocoa powder.
- Combine the chocolate, cocoa powder and hot coffee in a small bowl and gently stir until the chocolate has melted and the cocoa is dissolved. Set aside to cool.
- In a separate bowl, sieve together the flour, almonds, bicarbonate of soda/baking soda and salt.
- Whisk the melted chocolate together with the sugar, olive oil, yogurt, eggs and vanilla for a couple of minutes until the mixture is smooth.
- Add the dry ingredients a third at at time, lightly whisking between each addition until the flour is just incorporated.
- Pour the batter into the bundt tin and bake for 45 minutes until the cake is firm to the touch and a toothpick comes out clean if inserted in the middle.
- Leave to cool for 10 minutes in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack.
- To make the salted caramel sauce, put the sugar in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Heat it over a medium heat, swirling the sugar round to ensure that it all melts. When it is all liquid and golden brown, take it off the heat and add the cream and salt (it will fizz up, don’t worry). Stir with a wooden spoon to incorporate before adding the butter and beating the mixture until smooth.
- Pour into a glass jar and leave to cool until the mixture reaches your desired pouring consistency – it will thicken as it cools.
- Pour about half the sauce over the cake. You can store any extra sauce in the fridge or serve it alongside individual slices of cake.
- Once it is cold, the sauce will have the consistency of dulce de leche but some gentle heat will liquefy it again if you want it to be pourable.