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Seumas MacInnes’s Chocolate Fondant Cake (with wine recommendations from Rose Murray Brown)

“I have been involved with the Café Gandolfi for nearly 40 years and have felt very lucky to be doing a job I have loved for all this time. I have been joined for several years now by my twin boys, Alasdair and Donald, and we are firmly a family concern. Please try my simple and easy but impressive dessert.”

Seumas MacInnes, Owner, Cafe Gandolfi 

Seumas owns Cafe Gandolfi, a Glasgow institution and a special place for many with its beautiful furniture by the late Tim Stead and stained glass by John Clark. 

Deagh bhiadh, deagh bheannachd – Well fed, well blessed.

The Gaelic proverb displayed on the wall of the restaurant is Seumas’s aspiration for everybody who eats there.   He says this proverb is simple yet deeply ambitious, an honest proposition that draws on his heritage and one that’s steeped in the values of the Hebrides, where good food is one of life’s atavistic joys and where eating together strengthens the bonds between family and friends in a way that’s now rare, as we increasingly make do with grabbing food on the run, depriving ourselves of the pleasure of valuable, shared moments.

Seumas MacInnes’s Chocolate Fondant Cake 

Ingredients (serves 10-12):

200g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids preferably)

200g butter

250g caster sugar

40g ground almonds

5 eggs

Cocoa powder for dusting


  1. Pre-heat a fan oven to 175 degrees F.
  2. Prepare a 23cm springform cake tin by lining the base with greaseproof paper and then buttering the base and sides.
  3. Melt the chocolate, butter and sugar together in a bowl. (You can do this in a microwave or over a pan of boiling water.)
  4. Whisk in the 5 eggs, one at a time.
  5. Fold in the ground almonds.
  6. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the centre of the oven for 25 minutes.
  7. When cold, dust with cocoa powder.

Rose Murray Brown’s wine recommendations

My favourite with chocolate fondant cake is a sweetened Oloroso sherry.  One of the best on the market is EAST INDIA SOLERA made by Bodegas Lustau in Jerez, the home of sherry in southern Spain.  It has a wonderful deep rich raisiny and figgy flavours with hints of caramel and coffee with a tangy finish.  This clever blend of Oloroso and sweet Pedro Ximenez matured together for three years in the solera system in the warmest part of the bodega is aimed at recreating the temperature and oxidation that a sherry cask received when carried as liquid ballast on the old sailing boats.  Lustau are now the only company still making this particular type of cream sherry – and it is definitely the most complex cream sherry on the market: £11.99 half bottle in Waitrose

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