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  • Writer's pictureCulinary Cam

Single Origin Chocolate Cake with Lagavulin Ganache

I am that girl who makes her own birthday cake. I actually don't eat sweets very often, but when I do, I want it to be decadent and delicious. When the ganache was warm, the Lagavulin was strong, but once it cooled, the distinctive peatiness was gone. Still, it was delectable.



This cake was inspired by Amy Thielen's new cookbook, Company: The Radically Casual Art of Cooking for Others. You can read more about this cook in my post Fun House Potatoes - From Morning to Night.


Single Origin Chocolate Cake


I was intrigued by her description of wanting to make a cake that tastes like those expensive single origin chocolate bars...and the fact that it is made with buckwheat flour, ground almonds and has citrus juice and whiskey. Oh, my!


This is slightly adapted from Thielen's recipe. For example, I used butter olive oil instead of butter and didn't cook the meringue over a double-boiler to melt the granulated sugar, opting to use powdered sugar instead. I used an Oban 14 year single malt Scotch in the cake and Lagavulin in the ganache. Also, her recipe calls for tangerine juice; I have a whole box of Ojai pixie mandarins.


  • 1 cup Butter olive oil (or melted butter if you don't have Butter olive oil)

  • 1 cup dark chocolate, chopped (I used a Pará Brazil 85% bar from local-to-me Tiny House Chocolates)

  • 1/3 cup buckwheat flour

  • 1/3 cup ground almonds

  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 3 Tablespoons freshly squeezed mandarin juice

  • 2 Tablespoons whiskey

  • 5 eggs, separated

  • 1 cup powdered sugar

  • Also needed: parchment paper, springform pan (this makes it easier to get the cake out...it's delicate)



Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.


Place olive oil and chocolate chunks in a double boiler (mixing bowl that fits tightly over a saucepan is what I use!) and heat until the chocolate is melted. Whisk until smooth. Whisk in the buckwheat flour, almond flour, all the spices, and salt.


In a clean mixing bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Add in powdered sugar 1/4 cup at a time. Once the entire cup of powdered sugar has been incorporated, continue beating until soft peaks form.


Whisk egg yolks into the chocolate mixture. Then gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate. Try not to deflate the egg whites. Spoon the batter into the springform pan lined with parchment paper. Place pan on a baking sheet and into the oven. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the top is firm and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.



Let the cake cool. Place a plate with some weight (I used fruits) in the center to help make the cake more dense and more level. Once the cake is completely cooled, remove the sides of the springform pan. Peel off the parchment paper. and place on a serving platter or cake stand.


Lagavulin Ganache


  • 1 cup organic heavy whipping cream

  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chunks or chips

  • 1 Tablespoon Lagavulin Scotch Whisky (you can substitute any other whisky you have, but the Lagavulin added a deliciously, exotic smoky flavor)


Place whipping cream in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat until bubbles begin to form on the side of the pan. Add in the chocolate chunks and swirl to make sure they are covered with the warmed cream. Let stand for 3 minutes. Pour in Lagavulin. Whisk until smooth. It will thicken as it cools.


Pour the ganache into the concave of the cake and let it drizzle over the edges. Let the ganache set.



Decorate with fresh flowers and serve small wedges of the cake.



Happy birthday to me!


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