Chocolate cake from Portugal

“The chocolate cake brought to the office is VERY nice.
Not too sweet, perfect.
Thank you.”

Thus read the appreciative email which arrived in my inbox. I wasn’t surprised that the cake was a hit because the inspiration for it came from the book by Carlos Braz Lopez, producer of The Best Chocolate Cake In The World (follow this link for a post on that).

The good thing about this chocolate cake is that it is VERY simple. And I’ve altered it a bit to make it even simpler.

I then I decided to do something brave. Braz Lopez doesn’t, of course, give the recipe for the best chocolate cake in the world. This one was the second best. So I decided to make it a bit more like the best one by adding a tart fruity element to cut through it all. I would have added meringue, but the Saucy Dressings’ chief correspondent doesn’t like meringue, and, in fact, this serves very well just as it is.

Because of the berries it doesn’t keep very long however. But then, that is unlikely to be something you have to worry about too much.

This is a very international cake because the idea for the fruit compote comes from The Lebanon.

Recipe for simply perfect Portuguese chocolate cake

Serves about 12

Ingredients for the cake

  • 3 eggs
  • 4 x 100g/4 oz bar of chocolate, 70% or more
  • 170g/¾ cup golden caster sugar
  • 200g/8 oz butter
  • 60g/½ cup plain flour, plus a little extra for dusting
  • 300 ml/1¼ cups double cream
  • dried raspberries for decoration

Ingredients for the compote

  • ¼ cup/4 tbsps runny honey – ideally chestnut
  • ¼ cup/4 tbsps water
  • ½ tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 150g/5 ozs blackberries
  • 150-180g/5-6 oz raspberries
  • Slosh of cassis (or British cassis), optional
  • Crème fraïche to serve


  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
  2. Separate the yolks from the whites of the eggs – put the whites in a large dry mixing bowl and whisk until stiff.
  3. Melt one of the bars of the chocolate in a bain marie.
  4. Butter a spring-form cake tin, and lightly dust it (using a sieve) with flour.
  5. Using an electric mixer, cream half the butter (100g/4 oz) together with the sugar in another large mixing bowl.
  6. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating in between. Then add the melted chocolate, beat, and the flour, beat.
  7. Fold in the stiff egg whites, pour the cake mix into the prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes.
  8. Then make the compote by warming the honey and water together to make a syrup and then adding in all the other ingredients.
  9. Meanwhile make the icing: bring the cream to a gentle simmer. Break up the rest of the chocolate and break it into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Take the cream off the heat, and pour over the broken chocolate. Stir in the rest of the butter.
  10. Cut the cake in half and spread with the compote.
  11. Let the icing cool a little and then, while still easy to work with, cover the top of the cake.
  12. Decorate with the dried raspberry bits.
  13. Serve with the crème fraïche for those wanting to go ‘all out’.
This post is dedicated to Sandrine Farr.
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