150 grams 70% dark chocolate (dairy free, if desired), roughly chopped
1/3 cup virgin coconut oil
1/2 cup natural almond butter
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup finely mashed very ripe banana (about 1 large)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons Amaretto liqueur
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1/3 cup blanched almond flour
1/4 teaspoon table salt
6 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
For the cherry amaretto sauce:
5 cups fresh or frozen pitted dark cherries, thawed
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup Amaretto liqueur
4 teaspoons corn starch, tapioca starch or brown rice flour
4 teaspoons filtered water
Pinch of sea salt
Preheat oven to 325°F and position the rack in the middle of the oven. Prepare a 22 centimeter spring form pan with a piece of parchment paper on the bottom, lightly grease the sides and parchment paper on the bottom, and then dust the insides with cocoa powder. Discard any extra and set aside.
Place the chocolate and coconut oil in a heat-proof stainless steel or glass mixing bowl and place it on top of a small saucepot filled two centimeters high with water. Bring the water to a simmer and allow the chocolate to gently melt while stirring often. Just make sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom on the bowl or get any hotter than a gentle bubble. Stir in the almond butter and heat just for another 30 seconds until well incorporated. Optional microwave method:Place the chocolate and coconut oil in a microwave safe dish. Melt in the microwave on 50% power in 30 second increments until almost fully melted (you may see just a few small bits in the dark pool of chocolatey goodness). Once melted, add in the almond butter, stir and microwave for an additional 15 seconds.
Allow the chocolate to cool to room temperature. Once cool, stir in the yolks, ripe banana, vanilla, amaretto, cocoa powder, almond flour and salt.
Meanwhile, in a very clean bowl (with a handheld electric beaters) or stand mixer, beat the egg whites on medium speed until they are very foamy. Add in the cream of tartar and continue to beat until you get voluptuous peaks and poofs. Continue to beat over medium while slowly adding in the maple syrup until you get stiff peaks when you lift the beaters up. This usually takes just a few minutes but it really depends on your egg whites, your beaters, the atmosphere and the mood of the meringue gods.
Using a hand whisk (or the big whisk attachment on the stand mixer), very gingerly whisk a quarter of the whipped egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Once fairly incorporated (you can still see some streaks), switch to a spatula and gently fold in the rest of the egg whites until barely incorporated and cohesive.
Pour the batter into the prepared spring form pan and bake for 30 minutes. When it’s done, the cake will puff up, the top will feel smooth and dry, and the centre won’t jiggle when the pan moves. Allow the cake to cool completely on a wire rack for at least an hour before removing the sides of the spring form pan.
For The Cherry Amaretto Sauce: Mix the cherries, maple syrup, lemon juice, and amaretto together and bring to a simmer over medium heat. In a small bowl, mix together the starch or flour, and the water until thick and smooth, then add it to the bubbling sauce.
Simmer the sauce until it reaches a thick, syrup-like consistency before removing from the heat and adding a pinch of salt.
To Serve, dust the cake with icing sugar, if desired. Using a sharp knife, cut the cake into thin slices (running the knife until hot water between slices) and serve with the cherry sauce.