Apologies for yet ANOTHER chocolate cake. However unlike the previous bakes this one was for ME and ME alone. (Sort of. I don’t really want to be obese). But the point is I’ve been making cakes for other people and quite frankly I’ve had a serious case of cake envy. I can’t eat other people’s cakes. It’s wrong. It’s also depressing. Chocolate cake is not my most favourite cake in the world, but those last two had left me craving it. The recipe came from the mighty Mary Berry (recipe below), and it did not disappoint. It’s basically two chocolate sponges sandwiched together with ganache. I considered making a chocolate buttercream icing but in the end went for ganache. Just because I wanted it all shiny and pretty like. But the shiny ganache only makes a thin layer of icing so I made the thick type of ganache, slathered that on, and then poured over the thin shiny stuff. Details of how below.
- 50 g (2 oz) sifted cocoa powder
- 6 tablespoons boiling water
- 3 large eggs
- 50 ml (2 fl oz) milk
- 175 g (6 oz) self-raising flour
- 1 rounded teaspoon baking powder
- 100 g (4 oz) softened butter
- 275 g (10 oz) caster sugar
FOR THE ICING AND FILLING
- 3 tablespoons apricot jam
- 150 g (5 oz) plain chocolate*
- 150 ml (¼ pint) double cream*
*I made double the amount of icing as I wanted shed loads. But it’s not that necessary. Unless you are a pig. Like me.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas 4. Grease two 20 cm (8 in) deep sandwich tins then line the base of each tin with baking parchment.
- Blend the cocoa and boiling water in a large bowl then add the remaining cake ingredients and beat until the mixture has become a smooth, thickish batter. Divide the cake mix equally between the prepared tins and level the surface.
- Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 25–30 minutes or until well risen and the tops of the cakes spring back when lightly pressed with a finger. Leave to cool in the tins for a few minutes then turn out, peel off the parchment and finish cooling on a wire rack.
- To make the icing, warm the apricot jam in a very small pan, then spread a little over the base of one cake and the top of the other. Break the chocolate into pieces and gently heat with the cream in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water for about 10 minutes or just until the chocolate has melted, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the bowl from the heat and stir the chocolate mixture to make sure it has completely melted. Leave to cool until it is on the point of setting then spread on top of the apricot on both cakes. Sandwich the cakes together and use a small palette knife to smooth the icing on the top.
So the ganache at this thickened stage is not particularly shiny. I had some left (ok maybe doubling the amount was a bit ambitious) so decided to get my shine on. Word of warning: what I am about to tell you is a semi-failure, so don’t try this at home. I reheated the ganache. It went all smooth and shiny and gloopy. I poured it on the cake. I watched with wonder as it cascaded in a chocolatey waterfall. And continued to watch it as it separated. Oops. The fat and chocolate were friends no more. It’s no great tragedy when it’s just for a cake for yourself as from a distance it still looks great and tastes great too. But close up, well it looked like tiny brown iron fillings under a layer of oil. Sounds gross but it wasn’t that bad. I guess you can’t reheat ganache? I’m sure I read that you can but somewhere along the line I went wrong. No matter. And also the fact I’d poured it over a not perfectly smooth icing meant it looked rather bumpy, especially down the sides which you can see in the pic below. So to disguise this cock-up I melted some milk chocolate and piped random lines in a sort of kind of artistic way. It did the trick though. I thought it looked great! And the taste? YUM. It’s not a particularly sweet cake as ganache is very bitter. But I really loved it. And no I didn’t eat it all myself. My family had a hunk and the rest I dished out at work too much appreciation. I will most definitely make it again.