This is one of the first cakes that I ever made when I taught myself cooking (by my wonderful teacher, Giada Di Laurentiis on food network TV), and it is still one of my go-to cakes when I need a cake for a potluck (or any other cake) fast. Giada originally discovered it in a cafe in Venice, and ‘reengineered’ it. I love the simplicity of crushed amaretti cookies, melted chocolate, grated orange peel and then just a bit of sugar, butter and eggs, and that’s it. I typically make the entire dough right in the food processor and it does not take more than 10 min to prepare. It has the texture of a dense brownie but with an exotic, surprising taste of amaretto. It is simply elegant – like made in Italy by an Italian…. Best eaten with some strong Italian coffee.
Chocolate Amaretto Cake:
- Butter-flavored nonstick cooking spray
- 3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate or semisweet chocoate chips
- 1 cup whole almonds
- 1 cup baby amaretti cookies (about 2 ounces)
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons fresh grated orange peel
- 4 large eggs
- Unsweetened cocoa powder, for sifting
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Spray a 9-inch springform pan the nonstick spray. Refrigerate. Microwave the chocolate in 20 second intervals, and stir, repeat until melted (might take up to 5-6 repeats but if you don’t stir it it will burn).
Add the almonds to a large food processor. Pulse until the almonds are a fine meal, and add the amaretto cookies, pulse until they are finely ground, too. Place the butter stick from the fridge with the wrapping paper into the microwave and microwave for 20 sec. This will make it almost liquid and very good to add to the almond/cookie mix. Also add the sugar to the processor and blend until creamy and smooth. Add the grated orange peel and pulse briefly, until incorporated. Add the eggs 1 at a time. Blend until the eggs are incorporated. Clean the sides of the mixing bowl and blend again. Add the melted chocolate. Pulse until blended. Clean the sides of the bowl. Blend again.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the center puffs and a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes.
Transfer the cake to a platter. Sift the cocoa powder over and serve.