First up, the title of this post is a lie.
There is no almond liqueur in my home, never mind in my cake.
I really thought about doing this properly with alcohol, but then I thought about what kind of HR violation I would have to deal with. Do they have a “bringing boozy cake to a workplace” item in the handbook? I didn’t bother looking. So instead I’m just using almond extract and hoping for the best.
This title is also a lie because it’s technically “Martha’s dark chocolate and almond liqueur savarin,” but I know not who Martha is having not seen all seasons of GBBO.
What a way to start a recipe on a workday evening.
A recipe that requires two risings, I might add.
I’ve had my eye on this recipe for a while, and having recently borrowed my mother’s bundt tin, I thought it needed to happen sooner rather than later, so here we are.
I came home from work wanting to swap out my dishwasher dishes with my sink dishes but my dishwasher dishes were still dirty, which caused me to worry that my dishwasher wasn’t outputting any water (something that happened last summer), so I tried making sure no hoses were blocked in the cupboard and restarted it, thankful to hear (and see when I peeked) water, but then I had to try to clean some of my dishes in order to get this party started. Not a lot of room for all of this in my tiny kitchen.
But alas, this is a cake that is yeasty and therefore requires risings on the double, so I had to get to work.
First up: broken-up chocolate. Thank you, Ikea!
Once again, I don’t have a heatproof glass bowl, so I had to do my DIY double-broiler system with two pots again, which caused a little bit of grief because I had to keep washing those two pots to then lukewarm-up the milk and cook up some dinner in the midst of all this.
Also, Martha is different from Mary and Paul. She’s a fan of teaspoons and tablespoons.
Instead of just saying a 7 gram packet of yeast, she says 1 1/2 teaspoons which, when I put that into the flour on the scale, measured out to be 7 grams of yeast.
Then she wanted me to do four tablespoons of sugar and five tablespoons of cocoa.
Why are you mixing methods, dear Martha? I blame you for this:
“Mix well and make a well.” I’m not sure if it actually says that (the recipe book is all the way in my kitchen as I type this), but that’s essentially what Martha wanted me to do. So I did that in a too-big bowl, which made well-making difficult. How do I know how much room I’ll need for the full-fat lukewarm milk and two eggs? I guessed:
Also, I assume “full-fat milk” is equal or almost equal to “homogenized milk” because that’s all I could find. Originally I was going to get whole milk, because “whole” and “full” are synonyms, but the grocery store had no whole milk. It did, however, have 50% off the price of homogenized milk because it will expire in two days.
Also this double broiler thing is ridiculous for this amount of melted chocolate:
Time to pour the liquid into the well! I hope it goes well.
It went well!
A perfect well.
Time to mix.
Now, I could use a dough hook but the dough hook is one of the dirty items in my sink, as is the KitchenAid bowl and considering my recent battles with the machine, I decided to go old-school again, mixing in all the ingredients by hand.
Including softened butter:
And the melted chocolate:
And hokey dinah do I regret everything. This is such hard work. I’m supposed to mix it for 4-5 minutes until soft and elastic, but since this is a yeasty cake, this paste is thick.
My arms are going to be so sore tomorrow. I had to keep switching back and forth between hands until eventually I had to use both and stir it like a witch’s cauldron. Ridiculous.
Who do you think you are, Martha? I’m turning on you already.
She also suggests I can cover the bowl to let it rise for an hour with either clingfilm or a shower cap.
A shower cap, Martha?
The thing is, I do own a shower cap and, coincidentally, it’s from London.
You know when you stay in hotels and steal everything? Well two years ago, I stayed in a hotel in London and obviously stole all the bathroom items, including the shower cap even though I have never in my life used a shower cap. Until now.
I was going to take a break during this hour-long rise to put my feet up, watch some Grace and Frankie and have some dinner, but Martha is relentless. I have to make candied almond slices for the topping.
Now, Martha, I have tried to make caramel before and it did not work. I ended up smoking out my mother’s kitchen with something that was nearly impossible to scrape out of a pot. So I’m trusting you with this one.
First up, dissolve the sugar into some water with salted butter.
Here’s the thing, Martha, I have no salted butter, so I added some salt to this mixture. I hope that’s okay.
Also it’s hard to tell if the sugar is dissolved. I essentially waited until I could no longer hear granules being moved around. I hope that’s okay too.
Once that’s done, Martha, you’re telling me to bring it to a boil and stir until it’s a light caramel colour. I just have so many questions. Number one, how hard a boil?
Number two, what happens if you stir it and it de-froths?
Number three, what happens when it reboils?
Number four, how bad is it that I had to take my eyes off the caramelization process to grab my phone to snap this photo?
And then this one:
What’s the right colour, Martha? Because this happened too quickly! So quickly things went blurry. I hope this is okay.
Nuts and extract added, waiting for it to cool:
Phew! Now to put my feet up, watch Grace and Frankie and eat some dinner.
*not nearly enough time later*
A couple minutes after I typed all that, the timer beeped that rising time was over and I quickly had to do the next step so I could get it rising in the pan. Sorry, Grace and Frankie, you’ll have to wait.
Now I have to add the chocolate chips:
Dark chocolate chips I should add. The best kind of chocolate. All you milk chocolate weirdos and even weirder white chocolate fools, dark chocolate is where it’s at.
Also I hope this rose because this bowl is so big it doesn’t really look much different:
Martha and I are at odds again. She said to scatter the chocolate chips on top of the risen dough and then mix it in with a dough hook or “with your hands.”
With your hands, Martha?
If you say something like that, I will believe that it can be done. This entire baking-and-blogging process has been a trust exercise with Mary and Paul. But you, Martha, are a liar.
This is the dumbest thing I have ever done.
Okay, time to let this thing rise again (in a bundt tin that I greased with butter by hand. Maybe Martha is getting to me after all).
*50 to 60 minutes later*
It rose and I snapped one photo before popping it straight in the oven, just as Martha told me to:
I’m learning the value of rotating my pan, especially after the jelly-bean-shaped loaf of 2018. And so about halfway through the cooking time, I started making the syrup. The syrup that should be made with almond liqueur but the one that I’m making with almond extract and hoping I get the flavours right.
Making syrup is kind of hard. You don’t really know when it’s done like you do with caramel, even though I don’t really know when caramel is done either.
The oven beeped and I checked the cake with a knife and it came out perfectly clean in multiple spots. Martha suggests you check multiple spots in case it hits a chocolate chip, but mine did not. (In fact I think the chocolate chips all congregated in one area due to the hand-mixing incident above.)
It looks like I think it’s supposed to. I’m just proud of myself that I managed to get a hot cake out of the pan without breaking it in half. The reason I have to get it out of the pan is because I need to put syrup in the pan:
And then put the cake back into the pan. And then pour more syrup on top after you stab the cake multiple times:
The whole putting-the-cake-back-in thing mostly worked, although you may see a slight edge that’s been broken off in the process.
And now I wait for it to cool enough for me to decorate it.
*waits and almost falls asleep*
I can’t wait any longer. And I need to melt two kinds of chocolate with most of my pans in the dishwasher. I still have the sticky syrup pan out so I’m using that along with my rectangular Pyrex containers because where there’s a will, there’s, well, you know. I really need heatproof glass bowls.
I could have taken more progress shots of this part but I’m so tired and I really just want to get this thing done so I can go to bed. Therefore we’re going to do a good old fashioned before and after.
Let’s hope it keeps overnight and is still enjoyable in the morning.
(P.S. I cheated and put it in the fridge to cool down enough to decorate because I couldn’t wait anymore.)
(P.P.S. I was really worried about the amount of almond extract I used instead of almond liqueur so I stole a nibble of the cake and it’s quite decadent, but not too almondy. So this may have just worked!)
UPDATE: It was delicious. Moist and flavourful and disappeared quickly. Thank you, Martha. Sorry we quarrelled like we did.
All I can think, though, is how much tastier it would be with actual almond liqueur. May have to give this one another go in the future.