This week's assignment was "Chocolate Armagnac Cake," chosen by LyB of And then I do the dishes. Wow! Seven ounces of chocolate, ground pecans, prunes flambéd in fancy brandy, almost no flour, and three more ounces of chocolate in the glaze. This is the sort of dessert I love!
For the recipe, check out LyB's post. Or buy Dorie Greenspan's great cookbook, "Baking: From My Home to Yours."
What I did: used half almonds and half pecans because I had some ground-up almonds left over from January's French Pear Tart. Used mostly Scharffenberger 70% chocolate with a bit of Callebaut bittersweet when the Scharfenberger ran out. Used nice organic prunes and a mixture of good cognac and not-too-expensive brandy. Other than that, this is one recipe where I just followed the directions! A couple of tips: a pair of kitchen scissors works wonderfully for cutting up the prunes. Snip, snip, snip -- if the shears get sticky just wipe them with a damp cloth. Much easier than chopping with a knife. And, if there are any lumps at all in the confectioners' sugar for the glaze, be sure to sift it after measuring and before using.
whipping egg whites in the lovely copper bowl that my sweetie found in a second-hand store
My cake was definitely done after 30 minutes in the oven. In fact, I was worried that I might have overbaked it a bit, but tasting it later proved it was just right! My only complaint was that I couldn't really taste the brandy.
I can see making this again with different combinations of ground nuts, dried fruit and booze. Raisins and whisky -- candied orange peel and Grand Marnier -- dried cherries and brandy or rum -- delicious!