125 grams (4.4 oz) blanched almonds (or almond meal)
125 grams (4.4 oz) good quality dark chocolate (I use 70% cocoa)
125 grams (4.4 oz or 1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, chopped
125 grams (4.4 oz or 1/2 cup) sugar
3 large eggs, separated and left to come to room temperature
Powdered sugar for dusting
Grease and line a 20 cm or 8 inch round cake tin with baking paper (a springform tin or one with a removable base is best for this delicate cake) and preheat oven to 160ºC or 320ºF.
If using whole blanched almonds, blitz them to a very fine, sandy texture in a food processor. Set aside.
Place the chocolate, broken up, in a metal or glass bowl set over a bain marie (double broiler, or a pot of simmering water). When melted, remove the bowl from the heat and add the butter, stirring with a wooden spoon or silicon spatula to help it melt. Then add the sugar and the almond meal.
Once the mixture is no longer hot, add the egg yolks and stir to combine with a wooden spoon. If adding any further ingredients (orange zest, rum, etc), stir them in now.
In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites with beaters to soft, fluffy peaks. Fold the whites gently through the chocolate and almond batter.
Pour the batter into the cake tin, smooth over the top and bake for approximately 40 minutes or until the top appears dry and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out with a few moist crumbs attached (not wet batter). It is important not to overcook this cake so that it retains its wonderful moist consistency.
Let cool completely in the tin before handling. Dust with powdered sugar and, if desired, some lightly whipped cream. This cake keeps well for several days and is even better the next day.