A chocolate and apple delight for your sweetheart.
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*For the apples
Make three lengthwise, ¼-inch slices through two of the apples - leave the core for now. Heat canola oil in a skillet over very low heat; then gently warm both sides of centre slices for about 2 minutes. Do not let them brown; when they turn glassy they are done. Cool these slices, then cut the centre core out with a cookie cutter or knife. The slices will now hold their shape when baked.
Line a 10 inch springform pan with a circle of parchment paper. Spray the side ring of the pan with cooking spray and put the pan together. Evenly space apple rings onto parchment paper
Preheat oven to 350°F. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together
Grate the remaining apples (with peel) and side cuts on the large holes of a box grater; enough to total 2 cups, loosely packed. Beat the eggs with an electric mixer for two minutes. Whisk in the sugar and lemon zest. With mixer running, drizzle in the canola oil so that it emulsifies. Stir in the grated apples.
Gently sift dry ingredients over the eggs/apples and fold until just combined. Drop batter in large spoonsful over arranged apples in springform pan and smooth evenly with your fingers.
Bake 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick in the centre comes out clean. Pour chocolate drops over the baked cake, wait five minutes, and spread them into an evenly melted layer. (It’s important to use a quality chocolate for rich flavor and even melting.) Remove outer ring before chocolate completely cools. Cool cake until chocolate has hardened and then remove bottom of pan. When cake is completely cool, invert and peel off parchment. Dust with large granule sugar and serve.