350g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
175g butter, softened and roughly chopped
¼ teaspoon Guajillo chilli, finely ground (I used Tio Pablo from Farro)
½ teaspoon Earl Grey tea leaves, finely ground
7 free-range eggs, separated (I use size 7s)
100g caster sugar
300ml fresh cream
1 tablespoon icing sugar
¼ cup mandarin or orange juice
½ teaspoon finely grated fresh mandarin or orange zest
cocoa powder to dust

This recipe is one of my French husband’s family recipes – whipped up literally in a dash, the chocolatey, velvet softness of this cake is champion in our Franco-Kiwi household. Since meeting the effervescent Merrill J. Fernando of Dilmah last year I have been spellbound by the powers of tea and I am using it far less carelessly than before. The addition of bergamot citrus notes from Earl Grey tea touched with a smack on the tongue from fruity ground Guajillo chillies make these darling little cakes jaunty and voguish. Partner them with the perfect, pillowy mandarin cream.


2.Preheat the oven to 160℃.
3.Grease and line six 10cm springform cake tins.
4.Rest a medium-sized heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water on a medium-low heat.
5.Add the chocolate and butter and allow to melt together, stirring occasionally until smooth and glossy.
6.Remove the bowl from the heat, add the ground chilli and tea leaves, stir well and set aside to cool slightly.
7.Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form.
8.Add the sugar to the egg yolks and beat until pale and fluffy.
9.Stir the melted chocolate mixture into the egg yolk mixture, then gently fold through the egg whites until the batter is smooth.
10.Transfer the mixture to the prepared tins and bake for around 30 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
11.Allow to cool completely on a wire cooling rack before removing from the tins.
12.Serve gently warmed with a dusting of cocoa powder and a dollop of mandarin cream.
14.In large bowl, beat the cream and icing sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed for about 1 minute or until the cream begins to thicken, then on high speed until stiff peaks form
15.Fold in the mandarin or orange juice and 1/2 teaspoon of zest. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipes, food styling & photography Fiona Hugues

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