What is your fave incarnation?
Probably paired with either stabilized whipped cream (vanilla or coffee flavored) or a thin coat of the dark mocha ganache that I posted. A while back I tasted bites of this cake with a bunch of different flavors- orange zest, brandy, rum, coffee, grand marnier, amaretto, frangelico, etc., and I thought the best was coffee. I normally like cakes and ganaches with brandy, grand marnier or rum, so I was a little surprised.
The thing with this cake is that it is a not-too-sweet cake, even more so than Rose’s other chocolate cakes. Because of that, if you pair it with anything that is even slightly too sweet, it detracts from the cake and makes the cake taste worse, instead of better. My sense is that all buttercreams are too sweet for it, and that most versions of ganache are too sweet and/or too intensely flavored.
It is also nice baked as a torte layer and then covered in chocolate curls (no frosting).
Do you like it best with espresso powder in it? With rum? Neither?
If pairing the cake with a frosting that has coffee in it, I wouldn’t add any extra flavor to the cake. If skipping frosting or pairing it with vanilla whipped cream, I would add instant espresso to the cocoa/hot water mixture.
What is the best way to do the almonds - finely ground or blanched almond flour?
Blanched gives a softer texture to the cake, unblanched can give more flavor. But particle size and toasting are more important than skin/skinless.
Any shape faves? I only have a big bundt pan, so I’m probably limited to that (Fleur de Lys bundt) or layers.
I haven’t tried this in a large (10c) bundt, only in a 6 cup size, so if you go that route it would be a test. The bundts are nice unfrosted or dusted with a little powdered sugar. If you’d like to frost it, a layer/ springform would be a nice choice. I probably wouldn’t choose to fill it or stack layers, but rather keep it one deep torte-style layer.
Be sure to use a good-quality, dutched, full-fat cocoa powder.