Bittersweet Chocolate Cake with Almonds, Raisins & Whiskey

Serves 6-8

For the cake:
Butter and flour for the cake pan
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 Scotch whiskey
7 ounces dark, bittersweet chocolate (73%*), broken into small pieces
1/2 cup butter
3 eggs, separated
2/3 cup granulated sugar
4 1/2 tablespoons cake flour
2/3 cup blanched almonds, pulverized
Pinch of sea salt

For the icing:
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate*, broken into small pieces
3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons butter, but into small pieces

Preheat oven 375 degrees. Cut a round of waxed paper the size of the bottom of a 8 1/2 inches by 2 inches deep cake pan. Butter the sides of the pan and one side of the waxed paper. Lay the paper, butter side up in the pan and flour thoroughly.

Put the raisins in the whiskey to steep. Place the chocolate pieces in the top of a double boiler with 3 tablespoons water and stir until smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter in small pieces, thoroughly blending each piece before adding the next.

Beat the egg yolk with the sugar until the mixture is pale and creamy yellow. Combine with the chocolate and stir in the flour, mixed with the almonds. Then stir in the raisins with the whiskey.

Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until until they are stiff, but not dry. Fold in a third of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it; then fold all the chocolate into the remaining egg whites. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.

Bake the cake in the middle rack of a preheated oven for 20 minutes. The outside of the cake will be firm, but the center should remain soft.

Allow the cake to sit for 10 minutes, then unmold it carefully onto a cake rack, paper side up and let it cool for a few hours or overnight. Peel off the bake and ice the cake. Sprinkle with a few cacao nibs and serve.

Make the icing by melting the chocolate in the top of a double boiler. Stir in the confectioners’ sugar and then the butter, a piece at a time. Blend well and spread immediately on the cake. Allow the icing to set for about 30 minutes before serving.

COOK’S NOTES: I used a mix of chocolates: half 73% dark chocolate and a bar I love a British sweet named Montezuma’s Absolute Black with Cocoa Nibs. I have found it at Trader Joes and of course Amazon.