8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 ounces hazelnuts, toasted
5 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pans
3/4 cup plus 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/3 cup almond paste
6 large eggs, separated
2 teaspoons espresso or very strong coffee, cooled
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 to 2 cups whipped cream
Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch traditional round or springform cake pan. Dust the pan with flour and tap out any excess.
Combine the bittersweet and unsweetened chocolate in a bowl set over a pot of simmering water and melt, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.
In a food processor, pulse the hazelnuts, 3 tablespoons of the confectioners’ sugar, and the cocoa until they form a coarse powder.
In a medium bowl, use a mixer to beat together the 3/4 cup butter and 3/4 cup granulated sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the almond paste, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, until smooth. Then beat in the egg yolks, espresso, vanilla extract, and the melted chocolate. Fold in the hazelnut mixture with the rubber spatula.
In a separate mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the egg whites until they are foamy. Gradually add the 5 tablespoons granulated sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Using the rubber spatula, gently fold the egg white mixture into the chocolate cake batter.
Pour the batter into the cake pan. Bake until a fork or toothpick inserted into the center comes out dry, about 50 minutes. Let cool for 1 hour before removing the cake from the pan. (If not using a springform pan, invert the cake onto a serving plate and gently tap the bottom of the pan to release it.) Using a fine-mesh sieve, dust the top of the cake with the remaining 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar. Top individual servings with a dollop of whipped cream.
Reprinted from The PlumpJack Cookbook by Jeff Morgan © 2006 by Rodale, Inc. Photography by Leigh Beisch.