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Cake for breakfast


What did you have for breakfast this morning? Toast? Cereal? A Full English? Would you be appalled if I said that my breakfast this morning consisted of coffee and chocolate cake? And yes, it was delicious, thank you! 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 list of nutritious 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 remake of 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 light and easy 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 08:58 on 18 October 2019

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