Bitter chocolate, coffee and cardamom truffle cake

The flavours of chocolate, coffee and cardamom work very well in this rich and luxurious cake.  It is easy to make but one must never be tempted to overwhip the cream as it will ruin the texture.

Serves 8-10

340g dark chocolate (like Valrhona, 70% cocoa solids), broken up

400ml milk

30g green cardamom pods, crushed

2 level tablespoons instant coffee

2 tablespoons caster sugar

800ml double cream

65g roasted almonds, roughly chopped

Have ready a 20cm cake tin lined with clingfilm or greaseproof paper.

Place the chocolate in a bowl to melt in a bain-marie.  Meanwhile, reduce the milk with the cardamom by a third until dark creamy yellow.  Strain.  Add the coffee to the hot milk and some sugar to balance out the bitterness. (The amount of sugar needed may vary due to the bitterness of the coffee or chocolate.) Whip the cream until it just begins to thicken.  It is very important to stop whipping the second the cream begins to thicken otherwise you may ruin the final exture of the cake.  You will also notice the cream thickens when warm chocolate is added.  Gently fold the melted chocolate and coffee mixure beforehand, as the coffee tends to crystalise the chocolate.)

Cover the base of the tin with the almonds, spoon the chocolate mixture on tope and chill for about an hour until firm and set.  Alternatively you can sprinkle the almonds over the cake once you have taken it out of its mould.  Serve with yoghurt or créme fraiche.

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`Tried the prawn recipe and the steak recipe over the weekend! Both were sensational!! Thank you Karl for the inspiration. This week we'll try the chicken in mustard cream sauce, sounds...

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