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Clementine, dark chocolate & rosemary cake

Updated: Apr 20, 2020

*Ottolenghi recipe

A truly delightful cake. It is like a classic crumbly, zesty Italian polenta sponge smothered in a rich, boozy dark chocolate mirror glaze...

I tweaked this recipe in homage to Ottolenghi and his love for a herb, adding the fresh rosemary to the syrup. It added a bit of savoury note to the cake which was pretty delicious, but if I made it again, I probably wouldn’t bother.

As a side for the cake I mixed the remaining syrup with creme fraiche for a cold and creamy accompaniment.

I wanted to master a mirror-like chocolate icing and flavour it with cointreau. This took two attempts and a watchful eye (*don’t try and mix alcohol and chocolate whilst it's still on the heat).


Serves 10

For the cake:

  • 200g unsalted butter

  • 300g golden caster sugar

  • 4 oranges (zest)

  • 280g ground almonds

  • 4 large eggs

  • 100g plain flour

For the syrup:

  • 8 sprigs fresh rosemary

  • 4 oranges (juice)

  • 80g sugar

For the chocolate mirror icing:

  • 90g unsalted butter

  • 150g good quality chocolate

  • 4 teaspoons runny honey

  • 2 tablespoons cointreau

For the candied peel:

  • 1 handful orange rind (thinly sliced)

  • 50g white sugar


For the cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4/ 350°F

  • Grease and line a 24cm cake tin

  • With an electric mixer or by hand beat together the butter, sugar and orange zest until pale

  • On a slow speed beat in the dry ingredients a little at a time, followed by 1 egg until all are mixed in

  • Spread the mixture into the tin and bake for 50 minutes check it is ready by inserting a cake skewer it should come out slightly moist

  • Whilst the cake is cooking make the syrup by bringing together the juice, sugar and rosemary to the boil

  • Remove from the heat and discard of the rosemary

  • When the cake is cooked immediately prick with the skewer and pour over about ¾ of the syrup

  • When the cake is completely cool in the tin it can be removed

For the candied peel:

  • Boil the slices of orange in water and sugar and then remove from pan and leave on baking tray allowing them to air dry

For the chocolate mirror icing:

  • Quarter fill a saucepan with water and place on the heat

  • Put a bowl over it making sure the bowl and the water do not touch

  • Add the chopped chocolate, butter and honey to the bowl then slowly heat the water on a low to mid heat

  • Be careful not to overheat the chocolate as it with become thick and lose its shine

  • When the chocolate mixture has just melted instantly remove from the heat and stir (if there are any remaining lumps this doesn’t matter they will melt in the residue heat) then add the cointreau

  • Pour the chocolate over the cooled cake letting it spill over the edges to cover all the sides

  • Decorate with the dried slices of orange peel

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