I suppose the first thing I ought to do is explain the name behind this cake. Swiss peaks relates to my favourite chocolate bar; it is triangular in shape, comes from Switzerland and can be found in airport duty free in various sizes. The flavours of chocolate, honey and almond pair so beautifully, that it seemed fitting to get them into a cake.
Just a few notes;
The honey I used in this recipe was mild in colour, but a dark Greek one will only make the flavour stronger, which isn't a bad thing! Please try to use ethically sourced honey - our bees are the knees!
Once again, I'm using dark and regular sugar to achieve a semi-caramel flavour. You can use either or, but the flavour will change quite dramatically.
Chocolate. I'm keen for everyone to make food that they would want to eat, regardless of what the recipe states. Because of this I always add the disclaimer with chocolate that you can eat whatever gives you pleasure. I like half dark and half milk chocolate for balance, but you can swing either way depending on what you prefer.
This cake is extra special because it was tasted and approved by the cast of 'Admissions' being shown at Trafalgar Studios - their faces say it all
For the Cake:
250g unsalted butter
250g clear honey
50g dark brown sugar
50g caster sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
300g self-raising flour
50g ground almonds
For the Ganache:
200g milk chocolate
200g dark chocolate
200g double cream
100g clear honey
100g unsalted butter
(300g double cream optional)
For the Praline:
150g granulated sugar
75g flaked almonds
Preheat a fan oven to 140°c and grease and line two 8” cake tins.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter, honey and sugar together. Once melted and combined, increase the temperature and boil for 1-2 minutes ensuring the mix doesn’t burn.
Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool completely. I immerse the pan in a sink of cold water to speed up this process.
Crack the eggs into a small bowl or jug and beat lightly with the vanilla. Stir the eggs into the cooled honey mixture and mix thoroughly.
Sift the flour and almonds into a large bowl, make a well in the centre and pour the honey and egg mixture in. Stir this with a wooden spoon or spatula until all the lumps have disappeared.
Divide the batter between the two tins and bake in the centre of the oven for 40 minutes, or until the cakes are nicely browned and a skewer comes out clean. Let the cakes to cool in their tins for 10 minutes, before turning out onto a cooling rack and allow them to come to room temperature.
There are various ways to make ganache, but the method I use reduces the risk of the chocolate seizing and going clumpy. Chop the chocolate into small pieces, or you can use a food processor if you don’t mind the noise. Heat the cream, honey and butter in a saucepan until it is just below simmering point, stirring occasionally. Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and pour the hot cream mix over the top. Leave the mix for 5 minutes before stirring thoroughly to remove all the lumps.
Allow this mix to come to room temperature, at which point it will be perfect to spread over the cake as it is. If you want to stretch the ganache a little further and to lighten the texture, then whip another 300g of double cream to soft peaks and fold gently into the chocolate. This is an optional step, but worth a try if you want to cover the whole cake instead of just filling it and stacking it.
For the praline, place the almonds on a baking sheet and toast them in the 140°c oven for 10-15 minutes. Heat the sugar in a heavy based saucepan with a tablespoon of water. Swirl the pan until the sugar has dissolved, but do not stir. Allow the sugar to caramelise in the pan over a medium heat, cleaning the sides with a wet pastry brush – this will take 10-15 minutes.
When the caramel turns a deep amber colour, remove it from the heat and stir through the toasted almonds. Pour this mixture onto a heat proof tray lined with either a silicone mat or a sheet of baking parchment. Allow this to cool completely before smashing to shards and dust in between a clean tea towel with a rolling pin or similarly heavy object. If you’re not using this immediately, then store in a cool and dry place in an airtight box – not the fridge.
To build the cake, stack the two layers with half the ganache in the middle and half on top, sprinkling the praline on each layer. If you’ve folded the whipped cream into the ganache (shown in the pictures), then you’ll have enough the cover the whole cake. Good luck trying not to eat the praline before it goes in and on the cake! Enjoy.