Recipe: Rich chocolate-almond cake

Total time: 1 hour

Servings: 4 to 6

Note: From "La Maison du Chocolat" by Robert Linxe with Michele Carles (Rizzoli). For the chocolate, use the best you can find; at least half of it should be 70% cocoa. Use blanched almonds, then grind them in a food processor.

2 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

3/4 cup ground almonds

2 whole eggs

6 egg yolks

3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided

1/3 cup cocoa powder

4 egg whites

Dash salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting, optional

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour an 8-inch round cake pan.

2. Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler set over, but not touching, simmering water. Add the butter and stir. When the mixture is thoroughly melted, add the ground almonds, pouring in a thin stream. Stir to blend. Remove from the heat and set aside.

3. Place the eggs and yolks in a mixing bowl with 3/4 cup of the sugar and the cocoa powder. Whisk until blended, then stir into the almond-chocolate mixture. Set aside.

4. Place the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the salt and beat until they hold stiff peaks, about 4 minutes. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar and the vanilla and beat to combine. Gently fold the beaten whites into the chocolate mixture.

5. Transfer the batter to the pan. Bake until the tip of a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 28 minutes.

6. Prepare a large plate with a clean dish towel on top. Remove the cake from the oven and unmold onto the towel-covered plate. Let cool. Transfer to a serving platter and dust with cocoa, if desired.

Each of 6 servings: 427 calories; 93 mg. sodium; 309 mg. cholesterol; 28 grams fat; 11 grams saturated fat; 39 grams carbohydrates; 12 grams protein; 4 grams fiber.

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