This is a deceptively simple cake to make and tastes of luxury. The ganache topping tastes like the richest, most delicious truffle and works so well with the soft, crumbly Madeira-like sponge.
I made one tweak in that I turned the sponge into a vanilla one rather than Mary’s lemon version. This was an act of selfishness on my part!
The sponge was so good I will use it for other cakes – I think it would take sultanas well, or be nice topped with cream and fruit in the summer.
The origin of Tunis cake seems uncertain. It was mass produced by McVities in the 1970s but it is thought the recipe dates back to Edwardian times. However, the reason for the name perhaps dates back a lot further to the days of Carthage’s wars with the Roman Empire. After a victory the Tunis warriors would celebrate with cake and wine, which is why Tunis cake is made for celebrations. I think a victorious warrior would be very pleased with a slice of this cake named after him!
225g unsalted butter, at room temperature
225g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used this instead of the recommended grated zest of 1 lemon)
225g self raising flour
70g ground almonds
300ml double cream
400g chocolate – I used half dark, half milk – broken into squares