I have great colleagues but I’m about to leave them for a new opportunity. I’m going to miss them, so to show my appreciation I’m baking them four cakes – one for each week of my notice period. For more details about why they are so awesome, check out my post from week 1 of The Month of Cake.
Week 2 of The Month of Cake was Chocolate Buckwheat Cake served with a (slightly controversial) cinnamon-scented labneh. One of my colleagues needs to eat a gluten-free diet, so it was only right that one of the four cakes was a gluten-free version that she could eat. She has also recently discovered that she is not allergic to chocolate, so when I came across this recipe from Deb at Smitten Kitchen, it seemed like the perfect way to help her make up for years of lost chocolate. This cake is built on a dense, fudgy base of well-beaten eggs, butter, sugar and dark chocolate, with a small amount of almond and buckwheat flours added for structure and nuttiness. The only change I made to the recipe was to substitute a little of the white sugar for brown in order to introduce a note of caramel.
Despite its excellent flavour and soft crumb, this cake is quite plain in appearance. A dusting of icing sugar livened it up, but it was still a flat, brown disc that couldn’t compare to the vibrancy of the Orange & Yoghurt Cake that I had made the previous week. It needed an accompaniment and since I had some homemade labneh in the fridge (see here for instructions on how to make labneh) I decided to work with that. Chocolate and cinnamon go well together so I simply mixed 1 cup soft labneh (i.e. 6 hour straining time) with 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 2 tsp runny honey. A large dollop of this mixture complemented the cake well, adding moisture and further complexity to the flavours. It wasn’t universally loved, however, and a couple of my colleagues with fairly unsophisticated palates (ha!) expressed a preference for whipped cream instead. Whatever floats your boat, labneh, yoghurt, cream or plain, this is a cake that I’ll definitely be making again. Next week, Pear & Pistachio Cake!
Chocolate Buckwheat Cake
100g unsalted butter
100g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
4 large eggs
75g castor sugar
25g soft brown sugar
A good pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
35g buckwheat flour
30g almond meal
To serve: icing sugar, cinnamon labneh or lightly whipped cream
Preheat your oven to180°C / 350°F. Butter a 20cm cake pan and line the bottom with baking paper.
Melt the butter and chocolate together in a bowl resting on a pot of lightly simmering water or in short bursts in the microwave, stirring frequently. Set aside to cool. In a small bowl, whisk the buckwheat flour and almond meal together to combine and aerate. Set aside.
Beat the eggs and sugars with the salt until the mixture is pale in colour and doubled in volume, about 10 minutes. Using a spatula, gently fold in the vanilla and melted chocolate mixture. Sprinkle the buckwheat and almond flours over the batter and fold in gently until just combined. Pour into the buttered tin and bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Let the cake cool for five minutes then invert onto a rack, remove the paper, and invert again onto a serving plate. Sprinkle with a little icing sugar and serve with cinnamon labneh or lightly whipped cream.