Dish of the Day: Lily Vanilli’s Recipe for Romance/Death by Absinthe

Lily Vanilli

bakery 300x225 Dish of the Day: Lily Vanillis Recipe for Romance/Death by AbsintheI know, it’s not Valentine’s Day (happily), but it’s very cold and still good weather for getting cosy and making food that warms the heart (sadly). I made this dessert for the V day dinner at Floyd’s, my friend’s restaurant, on London’s Shacklewell Lane and it harbours a killer combination of a double hit of chocolate and a heady glug of absinthe. If that doesn’t warm the head, heart and spirit I don’t know what will, perhaps we should all just move to Mexico.

Flourless chocolate cake with absinthe ganache & toasted pecans

You’ll need a 12 hole cupcake pan, well-greased

300g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids), broken into pieces

200g unsalted butter, cubed

6 eggs, separated

100g brown sugar, preferably dark

½ tsp vanilla extract

Good pinch of sea salt

1 tsp baking powder

5 tbsp cocoa powder, sifted


  1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C fan assisted/gas mark 6.
  2. Melt together the chocolate, espresso powder and butter in a double boiler, then set it aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar on high for 5 minutes until yellow and creamy, then add the vanilla and salt.
  4. In a clean, dry bowl beat the egg whites and the baking powder together, starting on a low speed and increasing the speed gently until stiff peaks are formed.
  5. Stir the chocolate mixture into the yolk mixture, then stir in the cocoa. Now fold in the beaten whites.
  6. Scoop evenly into your prepared tin,
  7. Bake for approximately 15 minutes – the middle should wobble slightly when the tin is shaken gently, like a brownie.

Absinthe ganache

220g dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids), broken into pieces

15g unsalted butter, cubed

120ml double cream

60ml Absinthe

pinch Malden/sea salt


  1. Put the chocolate, salt and butter into a bowl and set aside.
  2. Heat the cream in a double boiler until it starts to simmer.
  3. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate and butter, stirring to bring together and melt the chocolate.
  4. Slowly pour in the absinthe, stirring to bring it together. If it starts to split, return to a very low heat, stirring well.

Toast a handful of pecans on a baking sheet in an oven preheated to 180C for 6 mins or until aromatic and browning.

To assemble, put a cake on a small plate, drizzle with absinthe chocolate sauce and dust with pecans. Dust with icing sugar too if you like.

Lily is also running the world’s first agony aunt baking column:“Recovering from a Bad Bake-up”. Send in your baking disaster stories of unexpected failures in the kitchen/recurring problems to

On the third Friday of the month we will feature a Q&A with advice to help you recover.

Lily Vanilli’s Sweet Tooth is available from Cannongate books, 2012

Follow Lily on Twitter @lilyvanillicake

For more information visit

Instagram lily_vanilli_cake

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