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chocolate esspresso cake

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Hello.
I have attempted to bake a chocolate espresso cake (Nigel Slater's) a number of times now with mixed results.

http://www.doc.ic.ac.uk/~mw/fun/choco...
(its the tenth recipe down)

When i stir the egg yolks into the mixed choc/butter/espresso, it all completely curdles/seperates and i think this is symptomatic of the way I'm mixing the espresso/choc'/butter mixture.
On 4 or 5 occassions Ive added the hot espresso to the melting chocolate and then dropped in the butter and left it all to melt (before stirring it all to blend). Ive then added the yolks and the curdling/splitting occurs
On 2 occassions i added the espresso to the already melted chocolate/butter mixture, then stirred in the yolks and on these 2 occassions, the mixture didnt curdle (horah!!) and one of the cakes went on to becoming a success (i overbaked the other!!)
. Unfortunately Ive tried this method (adding the esspreso to the already melted choc/butter) on 2 other seperate occassions and the curdling/splitting DID occur, so no constant results.
On all occassions Ive let the choc mixture cool down a little before adding the egg yolks (cause i know that the yolks can cook otherwise).
The first time the mix curdled/split, i went ahead and folded it into the eggwhites and finished the cake (it didnt look right and the texture was all wrong). Ofcourse I ate the whole bloomin' cake and it wasnt half bad! The one time I got everything right and nothing curdled, the result was fantastic - it was to die for!! Unfortunately now i cannot replicate the same result cause of no constance in my methods.
I notice that when the espresso is added to the chocolate, the choc goes grainy and lumpy. The butter then brings it all back together though.
I noticed when it was baked on "Real Food" (tv program), the mixed yolk/choc/butter/esspresso was completely smooth. Mine has only been smooth once. The other time it was just beginning to go lumpy before i folded it into the egg whites.
Any advice in helping achieve a consistently marvelous cake would be greatly appreciated !
Thanks in advance,
Elliot.

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  1. You need to make sure that your chocolate mixture is melted but not too hot when you add the eggs to prevent scrambling. Let the chocolate mixture cool down a bit, then add a few tablespoons of it to the eggs to let it temper, then add back into the rest of the chocolate mixture. And, the reason the chocolate goes grainy before you add the butter is because it's seizing, but the butter should smoothe it out. You might also try to add the flour/cocoa powder combination to the chocolate and whisk until smooth before you fold it into the egg whites. Hope this helps.