Sunken Chocolate Amaretto Cake


A gluten-free Sunken Chocolate Amaretto Cake served with whipped cream and amaretti biscuits.

nigella sunken chocolate amaretto cake

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.

nigella sunken chocolate amaretto cake

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.

nigella sunken chocolate amaretto cake

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.

nigella sunken chocolate amaretto cake

But 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!

nigella sunken chocolate amaretto cake

Sunken Chocolate Amaretto Cake

5 from 1 reviews

Recipe adapted from At My Table by Nigella Lawson

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6


For the cake

For the cream


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
  2. Line a 20cm (8 inch) round cake tin with baking paper and butter the sides.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake tin.
  7. 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.
  8. Let the cake cool in the tin on a wire rack.
  9. 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.
  10. Generously dust some cocoa powder onto the cake using a fine sieve.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. It is also not a bad idea to serve some small glasses of Amaretto liqueur alongside.

Kitchen Notes

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.

Share your photos!

If you have used this recipe, I would love to hear how it turned out! Please leave a comment below and share your photos by tagging @eatlittlebird on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter and using #eatlittlebird



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  1. Gisele Doucet 30 January 2018

    If we don’t have almonds to grind, can we just use almond flour?

    • Eat, Little Bird 30 January 2018

      I would suggest using ground almonds (or almond meal) or perhaps even ground hazelnuts (hazelnut meal) in this recipe. From my understanding, almond flour is much finer in texture (like a normal flour), and this will give the cake a different texture.

  2. Dani 31 January 2018

    It looks incredible and rich and so so chocolatey! YUM! When its not so hot here and I’m allowed to turn the oven back on this will have to be made asap!

    • Eat, Little Bird 11 February 2018

      Hi Dani,
      I highly recommend this cake! It’s worth making in any weather 😉 Hope you will enjoy the recipe.

  3. Geoff 9 February 2018

    Would this recipe work just as well using Frangelico instead of Amaretti?
    I would substitute ground hazelnuts for ground almonds.

    • Eat, Little Bird 9 February 2018

      Hi Geoff,
      Absolutely! You could substitute the Amaretto for any liqueur like Frangelico, Cointreau, or even rum. And you could also use ground hazelnuts in place of ground almonds – I frequently do this in many recipes and don’t notice any change in taste. Hope you will enjoy this recipe!

      • Geoff 11 February 2018

        Made for my dinner party last night using Frangelico as suggested and my guests were blown away so this will be top of my list next time. Many thanks Thanh

        • Eat, Little Bird 11 February 2018

          Oh that’s excellent to hear! This recipe has also been a big hit with our friends and family, and I know I will be top of my list too 🙂


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