"This is my signature chocolate cake that I have baked for just about everyone I love over the years," says Ingram. "It has been a cake for life, a cake for joy and even a cake for sorrow, proving that the healing power of cake should never be underestimated. I've recently started using Valrhona Manjari chocolate from Madagascar to make this cake; however, I have even used bars of Dairy Milk with equally soulful results. To slice this cake, I put my knife under hot running water to reduce the moussey cake sticking to the blade."
- 200 gm Valrhona Manjari chocolate (see note)
- 50 gm Valrhona Jivara chocolate (see note)
- 3 eggs
- 125 gm caster sugar
- 125 ml (½ cup) milk
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 50 gm Dutch-process cocoa, plus extra for dusting
- 150 gm eggwhite (about 3½ eggs)
- 200 ml pouring cream, whisked to soft peaks, refrigerated until required
- 1Preheat oven to 140C. Line a 25cm-diameter springform cake tin with baking paper. Half-melt chocolates in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (2-3 minutes) then set aside; there should be solid pieces remaining.
- 2Whisk eggs and 90gm sugar in an electric mixer on high speed until thick and fluffy (5-6 minutes).
- 3Bring milk and lemon juice to the boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat while stirring (don't worry if it curdles; this makes a more bitter rather than sweet chocolate cake). Cool for a minute, then add to chocolate, stir gently to combine, then fold in cocoa.
- 4Add egg mixture to chocolate in 3 batches, gently folding to combine between additions. It's okay if the mixture is streaky – there's a lot of folding yet to do and we want to preserve as much of the air as possible.
- 5Whisk eggwhite and a pinch of salt in an electric mixer on medium speed until eggwhite forms soft ribbons form (2-3 minutes), then gradually add remaining sugar and whisk to soft peaks (1-2 minutes).
- 6Gently fold cream into chocolate mixture in 2 batches followed by eggwhite in 2 batches, pour batter into prepared tin and bake until centre springs back when pressed (1-1¼ hours). Turn off heat and cool in oven with door slightly ajar to reduce the amount the cake falls as it is cooling. When cake is cool, dust with cocoa and serve. Chocolate Manjari cake will keep in the pantry for 4 days in an airtight container.
Note Valrhona chocolate is available from select delicatessens and Simon Johnson providores.