It’s not often that the main ingredient in a chocolate cake is chickpeas (garbanzo beans), so when I saw this recipe I was absolutely intrigued. But in case that’s not enough to tempt you, I’ll also point out that it’s not difficult to make, has a wonderfully moist texture, and – perhaps most importantly – tastes great. Plus, if you’re making it to share with friends, then you’ve got the added bonus of challenging them to guess what the secret ingredient might be. (It’s unlikely that they’ll get it). And the icing on the cake? It’s also gluten-free.
But what makes this cake particularly special (at least to me) is that it was made (at least in part) to celebrate my 100th blog post…
It definitely feels like a milestone. To some extent that’s because it has taken me longer to get here than I thought it might. (Given my initial trajectory, I should have reached this point almost a year ago). But I find that life is rarely predictable. Some months have been more prolific than others – ranging from 0 posts in March 2014 to 19 in November 2012 – a fact that clearly reflects what has been an interesting, sometimes challenging, often very busy, but ultimately rewarding period in my life.
It has been encouraging to gain followers and receive comments (any comments, actually, but especially those that recognise a post I’m particularly pleased with), and gratifying to hear that people have tried – and enjoyed – my writing and recipes. But it works both ways, and I also appreciate the intelligent, creative, humorous and thoughtful posts that I see on a regular basis. The ones I enjoy most include so much more than recipes, sharing tantalizing glimpses into the lives, families, cultures and kitchens of their authors. And then there is the cavalcade of carefully-constructed, mouth-watering photographs that frequently accompany them… I often wonder how many of us get to eat a hot meal anymore (or perhaps that’s just me)?
But what has surprised me most is the extent to which I’ve become part of a (virtual) community. I don’t want to get sentimental about it, but I could never have anticipated or predicted the sense of friendship and personal connectedness that has resulted from this particular venture. It really is an astonishing – often very generous and supportive – network of people that we’re continually creating out there in cyberspace. Anyway (as I’ve already mentioned), I really don’t want to get sentimental. But you know what? I’m grateful. And to celebrate, I’ve made you all a cake…
Before we get to the recipe itself, I offer you (almost without apology), the really, truly self-indulgent part of this post… the part where my alter-ego – The Fresh Princess of Bel Air – gets to share a few personal highlights from the 99 posts that have preceded this one:
Favourite post: Pea and mint ice-cream
Favourite savoury recipe: Lamb ragoût with olives and flageolet beans
Favourite sweet recipe: Beetroot cake with mascarpone and raspberries
Favourite photographs: Home-made “pot noodle”
Recipe: Chocolate and Chickpea Torte with Rum Cream
For the torte:
200g plain, dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids) broken into squares
150g icing (powdered) sugar, sifted
150g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
400g tin chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
3 medium eggs, separated
Cocoa powder, sifted, for dusting
For the cream:
3 tbsp soft dark brown sugar
3 tbsp dark rum
400ml double cream
Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water. Remove from the heat, take the bowl carefully out of the water and stir until smooth. Leave to cool for 20 minutes. If the chocolate is too hot, it will melt the butter when added to the cake batter.
Preheat the oven to 190C / 375F / gas mark 5.
Grease a 23cm springform cake tin with a little butter and line the base with baking paper. Put the icing sugar, butter and chickpeas in a food processor, then blend together until creamy and smooth. Add the egg yolks and blend well.
Next, add the cooled, melted chocolate in a steady stream with the motor running. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl.
Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until stiff (but not dry). Gently, but thoroughly, fold in to the chocolate and chickpea mixture.
Spoon the mix into the prepared cake tin and spread to the sides. Bake in the centre of the oven for 35 minutes or until the cake has risen, is firm to the touch and just beginning to shrink away from the sides of the tin. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10-15 minutes in the tin.
To make the whipped cream, mix the sugar and rum until it dissolves, then whisk with the cream until soft peaks form. Serve with the warm torte cut into slender wedges and lightly dusted with cocoa powder.