A gluten-free Sunken Chocolate Amaretto Cake served with whipped cream and amaretti biscuits. Easy to make and perfect for entertaining.
If you have been following my Instagram Stories, you will have noticed that I have made this Sunken Chocolate Amaretto Cake no less than three times in the last month – it is that good!
At first, I was hesitant to try a new chocolate cake recipe, especially since my go-to birthday cake is my all-time favourite Sour-Cream Chocolate Cake, whilst my mother-in-law’s Queen of Sheba flourless chocolate cake is what I make most frequently when we have friends coming over.
But after watching Nigella Lawson make this cake from her latest cookbook, At My Table, I felt a sudden urge to add another liqueur to our drinks cabinet, for which I am sure my husband has been quietly thankful (he finished off the bottle of Amaretto within a matter of days!).
In addition, I have been on a mission to find more gluten-free recipes to add to my repertoire. We have a good friend who has coeliac disease, and whilst I am sure he has no complaints about the many pavlovas I have served to him for dessert over the years, my range of gluten-free recipes is pretty limited.
At first glance, this Sunken Chocolate Amaretto Cake is quite similar to the Queen of Sheba which I have been making for years.
But what I found intriguing was that, instead of separating the eggs and whisking the egg whites separately to give the cake air and volume (which you need to do with the Queen of Sheba), you simply whisk the eggs together whole for a long time until they are light and mousse-like in texture.
So, in effect, it is much easier and quicker to make than my trusty Queen of Sheba.
How to Make a Sunken Chocolate Amaretto Cake
This recipe requires you to whisk the eggs until they are pale and frothy; by this stage, they should have nearly tripled in volume.
The mousse-like texture of the cake batter is what helps the cake to rise, as there are no raising agents in this recipe.
However, as the law of gravity dictates, what goes up must come down. Hence, that is why this is called a Sunken Chocolate Amaretto Cake. As the cake cools, it will start to deflate a little and may even crack on the surface. This is completely normal.
It is a fairly rich cake in that it uses real melted chocolate in the batter. As I do quite a lot of baking at home, I bought a bain-marie some years ago, specifically for melting chocolate. It has turned out to be a wonderful investment because I frequently use the small saucepan in cooking, and I have been rather surprised by how often I use the bain-marie in my everyday cooking.
A bain-marie is essentially a bowl sitting over a pan of simmering water. What is important is that the bowl should never be in contact with the water underneath. The steam from the simmering water underneath is what heats up the bowl to warm whatever ingredient it is holding.
So if you don’t have a special bain-marie like that pictured below, simply use a glass or metal bowl which can sit over a saucepan with a slightly narrower width.
How to Serve a Sunken Chocolate Amaretto Cake
What really sold me about this recipe was not so much the cake itself, but the gorgeous whipped cream with crushed amaretti biscuits which is served alongside. There is something heavenly about the combination of the crunchy amaretti biscuit crumbs, the softly whipped cream, and the velvety chocolate cake.
Nigella suggests mixing the amaretti biscuits crumbs through the whipped cream, but I prefer to add them at the last minute to ensure that they remain lovely and crunchy. Besides, if you are also planning to serve small glasses of Amaretto liqueur with the cake, you will want some extra amaretti biscuits for dipping!
More Chocolate Cake Recipes
Here are some more chocolate cake recipes you might enjoy:
Sunken Chocolate Amaretto Cake
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 25 mins
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: Serves 4 to 6
For the cake
- 100g (3 1/2 oz) dark chocolate (70% cocoa), roughly chopped
- 100g (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 4 eggs
- 125g caster sugar
- 75g ground almonds
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, plus extra
- 3 tablespoons Amaretto liqueur
For the cream
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
- Line a 20cm (8 inch) round cake tin with baking paper and butter the sides.
- Place the chocolate and butter into a bain-marie (or a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water), and melt over low heat. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Using a stand mixer or an electric hand whisk, whisk the eggs and sugar on medium to high speed until the mixture is pale and mousse-like. The mixture should have nearly tripled in volume by this stage.
- Slowly mix through the ground almonds, cocoa powder, Amaretto liqueur, and melted chocolate mixture. The consistency of the batter should be similar to a raw chocolate mousse.
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake tin.
- Bake the cake for about 25 minutes, or until a cake skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Unfortunately, a cake skewer will leave a hole in your cake and may even cause the top of the cake to crack. I would suggest giving the cake tin a gentle shake – if the centre of the cake wobbles, you will need to bake for another 5 minutes or so. I would use a cake skewer only as the last step.
- Let the cake cool in the tin on a wire rack.
- Carefully remove the cooled cake to a serving plate or cake stand. The cake is likely to crack during this process, if it hasn’t already done so upon cooling.
- Generously dust some cocoa powder onto the cake using a fine sieve.
- To make the cream, whisk the double cream with the Amaretto liqueur until it has thickened with soft peaks. Place the whipped cream into a small serving bowl and crumble over some crushed amaretti biscuits to decorate.
- To serve, place a generous spoonful of whipped cream alongside a slice of cake, and allow guests to crumble more amaretti biscuits onto the cream.
- It is also not a bad idea to serve some small glasses of Amaretto liqueur alongside.
If you don’t have Amaretto, you could substitute with any other liqueur such as Frangelico, Cointreau, Grand Marnier, or even rum.
The cake can be made ahead of time and keeps well on a covered cake stand.
The whipped cream can be made a few hours ahead of time and kept covered in the fridge. However, whipped cream is always best when it is freshly made.
All recipes on this website state temperatures for a regular oven (i.e. a conventional oven without fan). If you have a convection oven with a fan, please consult the manufacturer’s handbook on how to adjust the temperature and baking time accordingly.
To convert from cups to grams, and vice-versa, please see this handy Conversion Chart for Basic Ingredients.
- Serving Size: Serves 4 to 6
- Calories: 494
- Sugar: 33.3g
- Sodium: 62.4mg
- Fat: 30.9g
- Carbohydrates: 38.8g
- Fiber: 3.1g
- Protein: 10.8g
- Cholesterol: 169.5mg