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Many French cakes are small -- not towering creations like North American ones -- but they pack a real punch. This chocolate almond cake is very rich and moist with a superb chocolate glaze. It is delicious.

Servings: 8

Ingredients

1/3 cup whole blanched almonds

¾ cup sugar

4 ounces 70-per-cent chocolate

2 tablespoons amaretto or rum

4 ounces unsalted butter, softened

3 eggs, separated

½ cup all purpose flour

¼ teaspoon salt

Glaze

2 ounces bittersweet chocolate

¼ cup softened butter

Garnish

½ cup sliced almonds, toasted

Method

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Sprinkle almonds on cookie sheet. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool. Grind toasted nuts in a nut grinder or food processor with ¼ cup of the sugar until powdery. Reserve.

Melt chocolate and rum together in saucepan over low heat. Set aside to cool.

Butter and flour an 8-inch cake pan. Line with parchment paper.

Cream butter and 1/3 cup of remaining sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolks, cooled chocolate mixture and ground almonds. Fold in flour.

Combine egg whites and salt; beat until stiff. Beat in remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Beat until egg whites are thick and shiny. Fold in a large spoonful of batter to lighten the chocolate mixture, and then fold in the remainder. Pour into prepared cake pan.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until puffed and a cake tester comes out clean around the edges but slightly moist in the centre. Let cool in pan and refrigerate.

Melt chocolate in a small pot on low to make the glaze. Remove from heat; stir in butter. Place cake on plastic wrap on a plate. Pour glaze over cake, spreading with a spatula, allowing it to drip down sides. Cool until glaze is set. Lift cake from plastic wrap and place on a serving plate. Sprinkle with sliced toasted almonds.

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