Saddle pan almond and chocolate cake

Sometimes, it's a good thing to pick up stuff you have no idea what to do with. Eventually you'll find good use for it. Hopefully, at least.

Like this baking pan I picked up from a tiny store in Singapore. I bought it because it looked cute and different from the usual pan shapes. I've used it a couple of times to make butter cakes but as it was small, a 2 egg mixture was all it would hold.

I learnt it was called a saddle pan or rehr├╝cken. The mould is log shaped, has ridges along the sides and rests on a flat centre which resembles a spine. It's so called because it represents a saddle of venison. 

The cake that's made in this pan has Czech/ East German origins, a chocolate cake with ground almonds, ginger powder and sometimes, cinnamon powder and iced with melted chocolate. 

Like the original recipe, mine uses melted chocolate and ground almonds but my version is more like a butter cake. With the addition of almond powder, the cake would be dense and I did hope that separating the eggs and folding in the whites at the end would give it a lighter texture. 

And for the topping, what goes better on a chocolate cake than ganache?  And while at it, indulge yourself even more with some melted white chocolate.

The almond slivers that decorate the cake represent lardons that are stuck into the actual saddle to prevent it from drying out while roasting.  In the original recipe, they look  like quills on a porcupine- lots of them and evenly spaced out, I just used a handful.

It's a pretty cake and not dense as I feared. The icing is all that it needs. You could be picky and sieve the almond flour after grinding it but I like a bit of a nut to bite into.  


Almond and chocolate cake

60 gm flour
125 gm almond powder
4 eggs, separated
140 gm butter
140 gm sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
140 gm dark chocolate, melted

Chocolate icing
130 gm dark chocolate, melted
15 gm butter, at room temperature

75 gm white chocolate, melted
Almond slivers to decorate

Grease a saddle pan.
Mix flour and almond powder together, keep aside.
Place egg whites in another bowl, whip till stiff, keep aside.
Put the butter, sugar and extract into another mixing bowl, cream till light and fluffy.
Add in egg yolks, beat till well mixed, stir in melted chocolate.
Fold in the flour/ almond powder mix, and finally, fold in the egg whites.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, level the top and place the pan on a baking sheet.
Place in a preheated 165°C oven till the cake is cooked, about 40 minutes.
Remove the cake from the oven, after 10 minutes, upturn it carefully onto a wire rack and leave to cool.
When the cake is cold, place it on a cake board and make the icing.
Melt the dark chocolate and butter together.
Mix well, carefully spread it evenly over all over the cake.
Run the blade of a butter knife along the top of the cake and along the indentations on the side.
Melt the white chocolate and pour it over the top of the cake.
Bang the cake board on a counter top a couple of times to get the white chocolate flowing down the sides.
Stick almond slivers all over the cake.
Leave to set for about half an hour.

In case you would like to make this cake but don't have a saddle pan, do go ahead and use a loaf pan.


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