Choco­late chick­pea cake

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The Mail on Sunday - You - - James Christmas Special -

In Basil­i­cata, chick­peas are ev­ery­where! I got quite ex­cited about how you can use them al­most like chest­nuts in bak­ing, and this hy­brid of a cake and a brownie is the re­sult. I love its sim­plic­ity – it’s truly de­li­cious. SERVES 18 40 MIN­UTES, PLUS COOL­ING 150g un­salted but­ter ex­tra vir­gin olive oil 350g golden caster sugar 150g dark choco­late (70 per cent) 1 x 400g tin of chick­peas 3 large free-range eggs 150g plain flour 1 tea­spoon bak­ing pow­der 2 or­anges

Pre­heat the oven to 170C/325F/gas 3 and line a bak­ing tray (20cm x 30cm) with grease­proof pa­per. In a pan on a very low heat, melt the but­ter with 4 ta­ble­spoons of ex­tra vir­gin olive oil and 250g of the sugar un­til com­bined, stir­ring with a rub­ber spat­ula. Snap in the choco­late, turn off the heat, and stir gen­tly un­til the choco­late has melted and the mix­ture is smooth.

Drain the chick­peas, blitz well in a food pro­ces­sor, then pour in the choco­late mix­ture and blitz again un­til smooth. With the pro­ces­sor still run­ning, add the eggs one by one. Pulse in the flour, bak­ing pow­der and a pinch of sea salt un­til just com­bined, then pour the mix­ture evenly into the tray. Bake for 20 to 25 min­utes, or un­til risen and springy to the touch.

Mean­while, make your syrup. Use a speed-peeler to peel off strips of zest from both or­anges into a small pan. Squeeze in all their juice, add the re­main­ing 100g of sugar and sim­mer on a medium-low heat un­til you have a nice syrupy con­sis­tency – don’t be tempted to touch it! Leave to cool.

As soon as your cake comes out of

is pub­lished by Michael Joseph, price £26. To or­der a copy for £20.80 un­til 9 De­cem­ber, visit mail­shop.co.uk/books or call 0844 571 0640; p&p is free on or­ders over £15.

the oven, poke holes in it with a cock­tail stick or fine skewer, then spoon over most of the cooled syrup so it soaks into the sponge. Ar­range the peel on top to dec­o­rate. Leave to cool com­pletely, then slice and serve. I like mine with a nice scoop of vanilla ice cream and a driz­zle of the re­main­ing syrup (plus a good cup of tea!). NUTRI­TION PER SERV­ING 265 kcal; 13.2g fat ( 6.4g sat­u­rated); 3.6g pro­tein; 35.2g carbs; 26.4g sug­ars; 0.3g salt; 0.8g fi­bre

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