I do cook a lot, and I've made this cake a million times - for my own 50th I made it for 450 people, and it always appears at my daughter's birthday.
4oz dark chocolate, at least 70 per cent cocoa (it used to be Bournville, now it's Green & Black's)
31/2oz unsalted butter
3oz caster sugar
3oz ground almonds
3 organic free-range eggs
2-3tbsp strong filter coffee (it can be decaff)
2-3tbsp sugar-free apricot jam (I use a French jam sweetened with apple juice)
Melt 3oz of chocolate in a bowl in the oven and stir in coffee. In the bottom of a pan, melt 3oz butter and stir in the sugar and almonds to create a praline mixture. Try not to stir it or the mixture could become granular. Take it off the heat, and add the chocolate.
Separate the eggs, beat the yolks and add them to the mixture. Whip up the whites in a clean bowl until they are stiff - either by hand or with a machine. Fold in the whites. Take an 8-inch fluted flan dish with a removable bottom and line it with buttered greaseproof paper. Pour the mixture into it and place in the bottom of an oven pre-heated to 110-120C for 45 minutes to an hour.
Turn it out and decorate. Melt the jam with a little water and spread it over the cake to seal the crumbly bits. Mix half an ounce of the butter with one ounce of the chocolate. With a palette knife, spread over the cake once only. Don't be tempted to touch it again or it will not set smooth. You could add a dusting of icing sugar trough a doily.
Diana Quick is in 'You Can Never Tell' at the Garrick Theatre, Charing Cross Road, London W1, 0870 145 1163Reuse content