What was Agatha Christie’s recipe for writing mysteries?
I’m not sure, but I do know the recipe she published for delicious death. In honor of her birthday, I will repeat it below.
“These English people with their cakes that taste of sand never will have never tasted such a cake. Delicious. They will say – Delicious.” - Agatha Christie
Ingredients 175g dark chocolate drops (50-55% cocoa solids) 100g softened or spreadable butter
100g golden caster sugar
5 large eggs
½ tsp vanilla extract
100g ground almonds
½ tsp baking powder
For the filling 150ml rum, brandy or orange juice 150g; raisins 55g; soft dark brown sugar; 6-8 glace cherries ; 4-6 pieces crystallized ginger; 1 tsp lemon juice
For the decoration 175g dark chocolate drops; 150ml double cream; 2 tsps apricot jam; 10g crystallized violet petals ; 10g crystallized rose petals; 1 small pt of gold leaf.
Method Pre-heat the oven to 150ºC, (300ºF, 135ºC fan assisted; convection) Grease an 8” deep cake tin and line the bottom with baking parchment or silicone.
Prepare the filling: in a small saucepan, combine all the ingredients and stir over heat until the mixture is bubbling. Allow to simmer gently, while stirring, for at least 2 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated and the mixture is thickened. Allow to cool.
In a small heatproof bowl, melt the chocolate drops over simmering water or in a microwave, being careful not to let it overheat. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until very pale and fluffy. Separate the eggs, setting aside the whites in a large mixing bowl, and, one by one, add 4 of the yolks to the butter/sugar mix, beating well between each one.
Add the melted chocolate and fold in carefully, then stir in the vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, mix together the ground almonds and baking powder, then stir them into the cake mix.
Whisk the egg whites until peaked and stiff, then fold gently into the chocolate cake mix.
Spoon the mix into the prepared cake tin, levelling the top, and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 55-65 minutes, or until firm and well risen. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning it out on to a rack to cool completely.
Using a serrated knife, slice the cake in half horizontally. Spread the cooled fruit filling onto one half and sandwich the two halves back together.
To decorate: put the chocolate and cream in a heatproof bowl and melt them together over simmering water or in a microwave. Spread the cake all over with warmed apricot jam and place on a rack over a baking tray. Keeping back a couple of tablespoonfuls, pour the icing over the whole cake, making sure it covers the top and the sides completely, scooping up the excess from the tray with a palette knife as necessary. Add any surplus to the kept back icing. Carefully transfer the cake to a 10” cake board or pretty plate.
Once the reserved icing is firm enough to pipe, place it in a piping bag with no. 8 star nozzle and pipe a scrolling line around the top and bottom edges of the cake. Leave for 2-3 hours, to set.
Place the violet and rose petals into a plastic bag and crush them into small flakes. Sprinkle these liberally around the chocolate scrolls. Finally, with a cocktail stick, pull off some small flakes of gold leaf and gently add them to the top of the cake.
AGATHA CHRISTIE and DELICIOUS DEATH are registered trade marks of Agatha Christie Limited (a Chorion Limited company). All rights reserved.