Indulgent Chocolate Birthday Cake

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For my friend Macka’s birthday I made this ultimate chocolate cake which consists of a chocolate sponge, dark chocolate ganache, chocolate fingers and chocolate roses in milk chocolate, white, red and gold.

For the chocolate sponge I used a Mich Turner recipe from her Cake Masterclass book (thoroughly recommended for great cake recipes and decorating ideas). Her recipe is for a chocolate and cherry cake so I omitted the cherries as the recipe produces a chocolate sponge, perfect for a special occasion. It uses 5 eggs to make the sponge light and a good portion of plain chocolate (min 70% cocoa solids) to satisfy any chocoholic.

Whilst the cake was baking in the oven I made the chocolate roses. For this I went to my local cake decorating suppliers and purchased cocoform (a chocolate paste made from real chocolate and glucose). I used Squires Kitchen cocoform (pictured below)

Squires Kitchen Cocoform
Squires Kitchen Cocoform

For the roses I used between 5-7 petals to produce varying sizes. A lot of guides to making roses start with a cone but I just started with the first petal, wrapping each one round the next, with each petal wrapped more open then the last (for those who haven’t made roses before I will take more photos next time to produce a step by step guide). To make the red and gold roses I used the white chocolate cocoform and sprayed the finished flowers with edible red and gold lustre sprays.

Now I’ll be honest, these took longer to make then the cake took to bake in the oven (especially because I like to wash everything up before starting my next task). So if you’re like me, make sure you allow yourself plenty of time, especially if you’re making it right before your planned event. Luckily for me I had the day off work so was able to work in peace whilst everyone else I knew was at work and not able to distract me.

Whilst the cake was cooling, after a cup of tea and a sneaky stolen chocolate finger, I made the ganache. Now came the messy bit…spreading the ganache and assembling the cake. I used chocolate fingers for Macka’s cake because they’re perfect for dunking in tea (and we are fans of tea!) but chocolate cigerellos would produce a more professional finish. Whilst the ganache was setting I positioned the fingers around the cake then arranged the roses on top. Once everything was finished I popped it in the fridge to set and hold everything in place (not that it lasted long once we arrived and Ed and Macka’s house).

Enjoy.x.x.

Passionfruit Curd Sponge Cake Calamity

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Today was my day off and I thought I’d try something new. I found a recipe for Passionfruit Curd Sponge Cakes which sounded lovely and fresh (a great way to kid yourself its a healthy treat if there’s fruit involved!)

I started by making the passionfruit curd (which needs 3 hours to set in the fridge)

  • 2 Eggs, Lightly beaten
  • Pulp of 4 Passion Fruits
  • 110g Caster Sugar
  • 125g Unsalted Butter chopped

I put all the ingredients into a heatproof bowl and set resting over simmering water in a pan. Stir occasionally to start with the encourage the butter to melt and the ingredients to combine. As the temperature rose I started to stir continuously (for approximately 10mins in total) until the mixture starts to coat the back of the spoon.

I sat the bowl to cool next to the window before putting it into the fridge to cool for 3 hours.

Next I went to make the sponges and followed the recipe provided in the book and I was hopeful because it sounded and looked so light in the book.

  • 3 Eggs
  • 110g Caster Sugar
  • 110g Self Raising Flour
  • 20g Butter
  • 60ml Boiling Water

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (160 fan assisted) and grease and flour a 12 hole friand pan (or deep muffin pan).

Beat the eggs with an electric mixer in a bowl until thick and creamy and then gradually beat in with the mixer the caster sugar, ensuring the sugar has fully dissolved between additions. Fold in the sifted flour then combined butter with the boiling water.

Divide the mixture between the pan holes and bake for around 12min. When cooked quickly turn out onto a wire rack covered with greaseproof paper.

Now this is where I went wrong. They looked nicely risen in the oven and when I stuck one with a knitting needle it came out clean. As I turned them out onto the wire rack they all halved in-depth. Turning them back over the half which were on the left side of my oven were under cooked (I will certainly now remember to test both sides with the needle next time) and all had a dense, pappy base.

I’m putting it down to a combination of beating the eggs too much and possibly my oven now playing up (thank-goodness I have a baking enthusiast mother who will happily let me use her kitchen).

On the plus side the passionfruit curd has set nicely and this will now be turned into a healthier dessert with low-fat yogurt.

 

Ultimate Chocolate Brownie

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For my first post I’m going back to the recipe where it all started. It was a rainy day off work, not long after my boyfriend had moved in, and because I was trying to impress him I thought he’d like something nice for pudding. Luckily, the recipe was a success (he’s still with me nearly 3 years later). Here’s what you need:

  • 575g Plain Chocolate
  • 225g Unsalted Butter
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 225g Caster Sugar
  • 85g Self Raising Flour
  • 175g Chopped Walnuts
  • 1tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 9inch Square Tin

Set your oven to 180 C (mine’s a fan assisted oven so you’ll have to adjust if you have a conventional oven), grease and line your tin with grease proof paper.

Now for the cooking! Set aside 225g of the plain chocolate (if you have a fussy eater I’ve replaced 225g of the plain chocolate for Cadburys before) and break the remaining chocolate into a glass bowl, add the butter and place over a pan of simmering water to melt. Whilst that’s melting chop the chocolate you set aside into small chunks and in a separate bowl beat the eggs and caster sugar together.

By now the chocolate and butter should have all melted. Pour and mix this together with the beaten eggs and sugar until well combined. Then sift the flour over the mixture, add the walnuts and chopped chocolate and fold it all into the mixture. Pour this into the tin and bake for 40-45mins.

This recipe is extremely rich (and the amount of chocolate you use doesn’t make it cheap) and although I love baked goods fresh out of the oven I recommend letting it cool for a bit before you cut them otherwise they lose their square shape. They make a lovely pudding served with a vanilla custard or go down well the next day with a cup of tea to get your office through the working day!

I keep mine stored (once cool) in cake tin and find they’re good to eat for 4 days (if they haven’t disappeared before this time). Enjoy.