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Cake for breakfast


What did you have for breakfast this morning? Toast? Cereal? A Full English? Would you appalled if I told you that my breakfast consisted of coffee and chocolate cake? It was delicious. Also, not (quite) as decadent as it sounds.

Taken from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Light & Easy collection, the chocolate cake in question is less Black Forest Gateau and more Deliciously Ella in its nutritious list of ingredients. Made with ground almonds - or hazelnuts if you're going for a Nutella-flavour - it's completely gluten-free for starters. Even if you're not coeliac or gluten-intolerant, the latest research suggests that we all consume too much gluten anyway, so it's probably a good idea to give our guts a break from this occasionally inflammatory protein when possible. Add to your nutty base two eggs (sorry, vegans), cocoa powder and some sunflower oil - or try coconut oil for a hint of Bounty. Then sweeten with a spoonful of honey and just 50g a whole cake! Like I said, it's positively virtuous.

The finished product is like a simple yet sophisticated Italian dessert. Whenever we have any left over, I like to slice it into small squares and nibble with my morning cappuccino, pretending I'm sitting in a cafe overlooking a sun-drenched Italian piazza, as an extra in A Room With A View.

"But Italy worked some marvel in her. It gave her light, and - which he held more precious - it gave her shadow' - E.M.Forster

If you want to see if chocolate cake for breakfast brings out the Italian in you too, here's Hugh's delicious recipe, with thanks:


150g ground almonds or hazelnuts

50ml sunflower or rapeseed oil

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1 tablespoon of cocoa powder (look for Dutch processed)

2 large eggs

50 g caster sugar

1 tablespoon of runny honey


  1. Preheat your oven to 180C, then line a 20cm Springform tin with baking parchment.
  2. Mix together the ground nuts, baking powder and cocoa in a bowl; set aside.
  3. Whisk together the eggs, sugar and honey until very thick and roughly tripled in volume (about 5 minutes with an electric mixer)
  4. Combine the two mixes together GENTLY so as not to lose your hard-won volume; then drizzle the oil in while giving the mix a final whisk.
  5. Scrape the batter into the cake tin and bake for 20 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, prep your coffee - it should really be a double espresso for full Italian authenticity.
  7. Buon appetito!

PS: if you're serving this as a dessert instead of for breakfast, you could always smother it in chocolate ganache and a sprinkle of orange zest to make it seem less virtuous...

Last updated 18:11 on 1 November 2018

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