While the coffee is brewing, you can whip up this cake for your unexpected holiday visitors. Chef Eddy Van Damme said you can make this a gluten-free version by swapping the all-purpose flour with cornstarch.
4 Tablespoons all-purpose flour (or cornstarch)
4 Tablespoons cocoa powder
¾ cup almond flour
¾ cup sugar
5 ounces chocolate, about 60 percent cocoa mass
½ cup plus 2 Tablespoons olive oil (not extra virgin)
1 egg yolk
¼ cup dried cherries (or dried cranberries, toasted walnuts, or pecans)
⅛ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract To finish:
¼ cup water
¼ cup sugar
2 Tablespoons amaretto liqueur or Baileys Irish Cream
Fresh cherries and unsalted toasted pistachios or powdered sugar for garnish
To start, sift flour and cocoa powder into a bowl; set aside. In another bowl, combine almond flour and sugar; set aside.
Chop chocolate into pea-size pieces. Place in a large microwaveable bowl with the olive oil. Heat in the microwave oven, stirring with a rubber spatula every 10 seconds. Do not overheat. Chocolate should be only lukewarm.
To the melted chocolate, vigorously whisk in the eggs and egg yolk, then combine well with the cherries, salt, almond extract and vanilla. Combine this with the almond-sugar mixture, followed by the flour-cocoa mixture; set cake batter aside.
Lightly coat an 8- to 8½-inch silicone cake pan or other microwave-proof pan with cooking spray. Pour cake batter into the pan and cook in microwave oven on high for six minutes. Microwave temperatures vary from model to model, so to be safe, check the cake after five minutes by gently pressing a finger to the center. If it bounces back, the cake is done. If not, continue cooking in 10-second increments until done. Allow cake to cool before carefully unmolding onto a serving tray.
To finish: In a pot, boil water and sugar; set aside to cool, then add liqueur and brush the surface of the cake.
You can serve this warm cake in various ways. You can garnish each wedge with a few cherries and pistachios, or right before serving, sprinkle lightly toasted almond slices on top, followed by a light dusting of powdered sugar. Use a sifter, sieve or small shaker to apply sugar, or dress it up with chocolate ganache. Serves 8.