Chocolate fennel cake with candied fennel and pastis cream


For the cake
  • 1 fennel bulb, cut in half lengthways, finely sliced
  • 300g/10oz plain chocolate
  • 150g/5oz butter
  • 6 free-range eggs, separated
  • 50g/2oz caster sugar
For the candied fennel
  • 110g/4oz caster sugar
  • 110ml/4fl oz water
  • 16 baby fennel, trimmed
For the pastis cream
  • 150ml/5fl oz double cream
  • 2 tbsp pastis
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar

Preparation method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

  2. For the cake, line a 24cm/9½in spring-bottomed cake tin with greaseproof paper.

  3. Scatter the fennel slices over the base of the cake tin.

  4. Place the chocolate and butter into a heat-proof bowl and place the bowl on top of a pan of just-boiled water over a low temperature until the chocolate has melted. Stir to combine.

  5. Place the egg yolks into a large mixing bowl with two tablespoons of the sugar and whisk lightly.

  6. Place the egg whites into a separate bowl and whisk until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed from the bowl.

  7. Pour the cake mix over the fennel slices into the cake tin and place in the oven. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until golden-brown and a skewer comes out clean when inserted in the centre of the cake.

  8. Remove the cake from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

  9. For the candied fennel, place the sugar and water into a saucepan and add the fennel. Bring to the boil and simmer for 25-30 minutes until the mixture has thickened and the fennel has softened.

  10. Carefully remove the fennel from the pan and place onto a plate to cool until ready to serve.

  11. For the pastis cream, place the cream, pastis and icing sugar into a bowl and whisk until the cream has thickened.

  12. To serve, slice the cake, making sure that there is a piece of fennel in each slice. Place a slice of cake on each of eight plates along with two pieces of candied fennel and a spoonful of pastis cream per serving.

James Martin recipes from Saturday Kitchen

30 mins to 1 hour preparation time

30 mins to 1 hour cooking time

Serves 8