Recipe For Chocolate Fennel Cake

I issued a challenge where you had to use a savoury ingredient in a sweet dish. I have had this recipe for a chocolate fennel cake from the Food and Home Entertaining August 2008 magazine waiting for testing and this was the perfect opportunity. I have decided that gluten free cakes cannot be sugar free as they end up slightly too dense but I am well pleased with the candied fennel. As an aside, I attempted to make the icing with Sugalite, a sugar substitute but it did not work. So, I have made a normal icing, which rendered the fact I had used Willies Cacao and fructose a slight waste of ingredients as the cake needs the icing and I cannot enjoy it.

Chocolate Fennel Cake
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Chocolate Fennel Cake

Adapted from Food and Home Entertaining August 2008


for the cake:

  • 1 small fennel bulb thinly sliced
  • 600 g good quality dark chocolate broken into pieces
  • 300 g unsalted butter
  • 12 large eggs separated
  • 100 g caster sugar - I used fructose

for the candied fennel:

  • 2 small fennel bulbs sliced
  • 200 g caster sugar – I used fructose
  • 200 mls water

for the icing:

  • 250 g unsalted butter
  • 500 g icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely ground fennel seeds


for the cake:

  • preheat the oven to 180° Celsius
  • line the base and the sides of 2 x 20cm springform tins with baking paper
  • place the fennel slices on the bases
  • place the chocolate and the butter in a bowl
  • place the bowl over a pan of gently simmering water – do not allow the water to touch the bowl
  • allow to melt thoroughly
  • whisk the egg yolks with 30mls of the sugar for 30 seconds
  • stir in the melted chocolate and mix well
  • beat the egg whites with the remaining sugar until very stiff
  • fold one third of the egg whites into the chocolate mix
  • gently fold in the remainder of the egg whites
  • pour the mixture into the tins
  • bake for 20 – 25 minutes
  • remove from the oven and allow to cool
  • turn onto a wire rack once cooled and place them in the fridge

for the candied fennel:

  • place the ingredients into a sauce pan
  • bring to the boil
  • lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes
  • allow to cool

for the icing:

  • beat the ingredients together until light a fluffy

to assemble:

  • use a hot knife to slice each cake in half
  • place a cake layer on your cake plate
  • use a third of the icing and top with some candied fennel
  • repeat until all the layers are stacked


as you will see, I did not slice the cake in half as I used a larger springform tin and only baked half the measurements

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