I am not afraid to say that this is a stolen recipe. Cakes are not my forte and never have been. I found this in an issue of "Good Food" and just could not resist. People who know me will confirm that I have a thing or two or three for chocolate. At work I used to keep a whole drawer full of goodies which I (and some colleagues, to be fair) would bring home from business trips. At first, buying the chocolate and "managing" the drawer was enough for me. But as soon as I fell pregnant around this time last year, I have to admit I was not only the main purveyor, but also the main consumer of those chocolates... So when Angela Nielson published her "gooiest-ever chocolate cake", I had to respond to her call!
The cake itself was quite simple to make and I enriched it somewhat by adding frozen raspberries, which gave a tangy twist to the whole affair. The chocolate curls were a bummer to make, excuse my French, I had about 5 gos, using different boards, freezing instead of "fridging", cooling down, warming up - a messy affair all around. Glad the cake took almost two hours to bake, so I had to keep myself occupied anyway... But I am quite pleased with the result in the end, it looks messier than in the magazine, but I got a few compliments nonetheless.
Seriously rich chocolate cake
(makes 16 portions)
200 g dark chocolate, ca. 60% cocoa solids (broken into pieces)
200 g butter (cut in pieces)
1 heaped tbsp instant coffee (I used toffee-flavoured)
170 g self-raising flour
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
200 g light muscovado sugar
200 g caster sugar
25 g (good quality) cocoa powder
3 medium eggs
75 ml buttermilk
100 g frozen raspberries
grated chocolate or chocolate curls (see below)
For the ganache:
150 g dark chocolate (ca 60% cocoa solids)
50 g milk chocolate
284 ml double cream
2 tbsp caster sugar
Butter a 22 cm round non-stick cake (spring-form) tin. Preheat the oven to 140 C (fan). Put the chocolate pieces into a pan, add the butter, coffee granules and 125 ml water. Warm through over a low heat until everything is melted. In the meantime, mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda and sugars in a bowl, first rubbing with your hands, then sieving to remove any lumps. Add the cocoa powder. Beat the eggs with the buttermilk and add to the mixture. Combine this with the chocolate sauce, until everything is well blended and smooth, then fold in the frozen raspberries. Pour into the baking tin and bake for ca. 1 hour 35 minutes. Take out and leave to cool on a wire rack.
When ready to decorate, prepare the ganache: chop the chocolate, heat the double cream and the sugar over a medium heat and pour the cream over the chocolate. Stir with a spoon until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.
When it has cooled down, cut the cake in half horizontally and sandwich together with some of the ganache, then pour the remaining ganache on top of the cake and spoon it around to cover everything evenly. If using, place the chocolate curls or shavings on top and around the cake. Leave to cool and set in the fridge, for at least one hour.
If you want to make chocolate curls, melt some chocolate in a bain-marie or a microwave and spread onto an even surface. Marble seems to work best, I used a smooth lacquered wooden chopping board. When the chocolate is spread in a thin and even layer, transfer the board to the fridge and leave to set. In order make curls, the chocolate must not be too soft nor too hard, so it's a bit of trial and error.
Take a big chopping knife and apply at a 45 degree angle, using a circular motion, until little cones form. Leave to cool in the fridge until ready to decorate the cake.
I won't lie to you, this requires practice and more often than not you will end up frustrated. However, succeeding with your first few curls feels like Christmas and birthday combined!