Oh, Ambassador! Tis the season for scoffing chocolates, and what could be more festive than a whacking great pyramid of gold-wrapped ones? People still laugh at the infamous 1993 Ferrero Rocher advert, but when I first saw it, it struck me as the pinnacle of sophistication. A party where people wore gloves indoors! And flirted in several different languages! This was heady stuff for a pre-teen from the back of beyond.
Tragically, my invitation to this year’s reception seems to have got lost in the post. To get over my disappointment, I decided to make a cake in homage to Ferrero Rocher, substituting ground almonds for the hazelnuts and splashing out, in true ambassadorial style, on the very best chocolate I could afford (cost about a pound a square, I’ll have you know).
I think it hits the cosmopolitan spot nicely. It’s rich without being too heavy, sweet but not wincingly so, and looks ever so smart on the plate dusted with icing sugar. It’s gluten-free, too, so coeliacs who would have been floored by the wafer layer in the originals can happily partake.
Yes, I know – I’m spoiling you. Just like The Ambassador.
Ferrero Rocher cake
300g golden caster sugar
300g unsalted butter, softened
300g best-quality dark chocolate
300g ground almonds
5 large eggs, beaten
A dash of almond essence
1. Grease and line a 10in cake tin, and preheat the oven to 180°C.
2. Cream the butter and sugar together. This is a doddle if you’ve got an electric mixer, and a good workout if you don’t.
3. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over simmering water, then set to one side. Once it’s cooled slightly, pour it over the butter and sugar, and mix well.
4. Transfer the mixture to a clean bowl, and gradually whisk in the beaten eggs, adding a few tablespoons of ground almonds to stop everything curdling.
5. Fold in the remaining ground almonds, add the almond essence, then pour the mixture into your prepared cake tin.
6. Bake for an hour, keeping an eye on the cake as it rises to avoid the top burning. If you like a brownie-type consistency, whip it out after 45 minutes.
7. Turn out onto a cooling rack, and dust with icing sugar before serving.
Next time: Trifle, I think