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Author Notes: Moist chocolate mini-cakes spiced with ground fennel seeds and topped with knobs of cream cheese.
The recipe doubles beautifully to make single or double-layered cakes with a rich & moist crumb. If you make layer cakes then it won't be necessary to place the cake tins in water-baths. They can be placed directly on oven racks. Two layers of this cake with an old-fashioned chocolate butter-cream or cream-cheese frosting makes a gorgeous birthday treat!
The ground fennel is optional and can easily be done away with. I usually like to dry-roast whole fennel seeds before grinding them to fine powder.
Although these cakelets never last more than a couple of hours right out of the oven, they do get better if rested in the refrigerator for a few hours. - Amrita
Makes 4-6 mini cakes
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup ground almonds
- 1 tablespoon dry-toasted and ground fennel seeds
- 1 pinch salt
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil (eg, sunflower, canola)
- 1/2 cup yogurt, well-stirred and lumps removed
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Cream Cheese
- Pre-heat oven to 180 deg C and grease 4-5 small ramekins. Place the ramekins on a baking tray (or cake tins). Fill the tray/tins with boiling water till the water level is about 1/4-inch high.
- In a medium bowl sift together flour, cocoa powder, almonds, fennel, baking powder and salt. Mix them well with a fork.
- In a bigger bowl whisk together the eggs, sugar, oil, yogurt and vanilla till the sugar dissolves.
- Add the flour mix into the egg mixture (dry into wet) and fold in till just combined. Do not overwork the batter.
- Fill the ramekins about 2/3rds of the way (the batter will rise) and bake for 35-45 minutes or till toothpicks inserted into the centers come out very slightly greasy (not coated in wet batter). I usually start checking after the cakes have baked for 30 minutes.
- Cool the cakes in the ramekins for 15 minutes before placing them on a cooling rack.
- Top each mini-cake with large knobs, or classier quenelles, of cream cheese.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Chocolate & Spice