Venetian chocolate cake with star anise gelato


  • Serves 14 people

  • 220 gm almond meal
  • 200 gm dark chocolate (55% cocoa solids), finely chopped
  • 175 gm softened butter
  • 175 gm caster sugar
  • 11 eggs, separated
  • 80 ml amaretto
  • For dusting: plain flour
  • Star anise gelato
  • 675 ml pouring cream
  • 4 star anise
  • 170 gm caster sugar
  • 2 egg yolks (about 70gm)
  • Chocolate sauce
  • 75 gm caster sugar
  • 65 ml pouring cream
  • 200 gm dark chocolate (55% cocoa solids), finely chopped
01   For star anise gelato, bring cream and star anise to just below a simmer in a saucepan over low heat, refrigerate overnight to infuse.
02   Whisk sugar and yolks in an electric mixer until doubled in size (3-5 minutes). Strain cream through a fine sieve into a saucepan over low heat, whisk in yolk mixture, then stir continuously until mixture thickly coats the back of a wooden spoon (or reaches 75C on a sugar thermometer; 8-10 minutes). Transfer to a bowl placed over ice, stir occasionally until cool (15-20 minutes), freeze in an ice-cream machine until required. Makes about 750ml.
03   Meanwhile, preheat oven to 160C. Scatter almond meal on a baking tray and roast, stirring occasionally, until golden and toasted (3-5 minutes). Set aside to cool.
04   Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl placed over simmering water, stirring occasionally until glossy (2-3 minutes) and set aside.
05   Beat butter and sugar in an electric mixer until pale and creamy (3-5 minutes). Add yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add chocolate, amaretto and toasted almond meal, stir to combine, transfer to a bowl, set aside.
06   Whisk eggwhite in an electric mixer to soft peaks (2-4 minutes). Fold into chocolate mixture with a metal spoon until incorporated, then spoon into a 25cm-diameter buttered and floured springform pan lined with baking paper. Bake until just cooked through (40-45 minutes), cool slightly (10 minutes), release sides of pan and cool to room temperature.
07   Meanwhile, for chocolate sauce, combine sugar and 125ml water in a small saucepan over medium heat, stir to dissolve sugar, bring to the boil, then remove from heat to cool slightly. Meanwhile, bring cream to the simmer in a small saucepan over low heat. Whisking continuously, add chocolate a little bit at a time, mixing until smooth and glossy. Add sugar syrup, whisk to combine, serve warm over Venetian chocolate cake with star anise gelato.
This recipe is from the August 2010 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.
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