Mother’s Day is fast approaching and I can’t help but think of cake. I feel something light and spring like is needed. I know, how about a lavender honey cake scented with lemon and smothered in honey cream cheese icing? Sorted.
Happy Mother’s Day to everyone. I’ll be heading off to visit my mother shortly. I was going to take her out to lunch, but turns out she hadn’t realised the significance of the day and has invited friends over. So I decided to make her an ultra healthy, dairy-free, grain-free and refined sugar-free vegan cake instead. Why? Because I felt like it and thought it would make a nice change. So this chocolate coconut cannellini cake is what she’s getting.
When I chose butter as this month’s We Should Cocoa ingredient, I didn’t have anything specific in mind. But when I woke up yesterday, I wanted to bake and I wanted to bake something decadent. It’s been a long time since I made a full on layer cake and this triple chocolate cake is perfect for Valentine’s Day or any other occasion when you want to show how much you care for the ones you love (if not perhaps their waistlines).
Why, I’m now wondering, have I never made Black Forest gateau before? It’s a fabulous bake; not only is it very tasty but it’s also relatively simple to make.
When I was asked to bake a cake for a rather sad occasion last week, I thought I’d try out one of Will Torrent’s recipes, or two of them in fact. I adapted his Nans’ chocolate fudge cake recipe to make it into a three layered cake, then topped it with a chocolate glaze from his recipe for salted caramel & rum top hat cake.
This is another recipe adapted from my vintage Christmas stocking present which I made back in January – yes I do have a few unposted recipes that have been hanging around in my drafts folder for far too long. I know Bonfire Night has now passed, but this seems a very suitable cake for this time of year, bonfire or no bonfire.
I had a birthday cake to make for a friend and given free rein to make what I thought fit, I was in the mood to create a salted caramel cake. A once unfamiliar concept on British shores, it seems to have taken the nation by storm and is now everyone’s favourite flavour – it’s certainly one of mine.
As this is a We Should Cocoa anniversary, I wanted to do something a little bit special. I also had a cake to make for a friend. I knew I wanted to use the chocolate blackberry jam I made a couple of weeks ago; it’s not only rather special but seasonal too. Leafing through some of my baking books, I came across Ruth Clemens’ Ultimate Chocolate Cake recipe in her book, The Pink Whisk guide to Cake Making. The recipe looked good and as we are all in the throws of the Great British Bake Off, it seemed rather appropriate as Ruth was one of the finalists back in 2010.
I decided to follow the recipe for the cake batter and the ganache, but not the buttercream as I was going to use jam. I halved the ganache recipe and changed the cake recipe a little – I just can’t help it! I attempted feathering for the first time using the leftover blackberry white chocolate ganache from the blackberry puddings recipe I have yet to post.
This is how I made:
- Measured 220ml milk into a jug and added 2 tbsp of malt vinegar to make a quick version of sour milk. Gave it a stir and left to coagulate.
- Creamed 165g unsalted butter with 300g light Muscovado sugar and 30g of Molasses sugar until light and fluffy.
- Beat in 3 duck eggs (large hens eggs can be substituted) one at a time.
- Sieved in 200g plain flour, 80g self-raising flour, 60g cocoa powder (I used Food Thoughts fairtrade & organic), 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda and 1 tsp mesquite powder (optional – gives a slight caramel flavour).
- Folded in alternately with the soured milk.
- Spooned the mixture into 2 7″ oiled baking tins and 3 small rectangular silicone moulds filling them to about 3/4 full.
- Left to cool in the tins, then turned out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Brought 140 ml of cream to the boil in a small pan with 1/2 tbsp golden syrup.
- Added 175g of 53% dark chocolate and left for a couple of minutes.
- Stirred until well mixed and smooth.
- Sandwiched the large cakes together with chocolate blackberry jam.
- Topped with the ganache.
- Piped lines of white chocolate ganache on top and then used a tooth pick to feather the lines – or at least attempted too.
- Cut the mini cakes in half, sandwiched with the jam then topped with the ganache.
The batter rose so well, that it annoyingly overflowed, which was not quite what I was looking for. The mixture was also a little fragile, so needed to be handled quite carefully when still warm. It was, however, very light and quite delicious. CT, who wasn’t party to the intricacies of the creation, was quite taken by the unexpected pleasure of the blackberry jam cunningly secreted in the middle – ooh he said.
So enamoured was I with the chocolate, lemon curd and strawberry combination after I made these chocolate waffles, that I knew immediately that was what I would use for my birthday cake last week. What I didn’t then know was that I would add pomegranate to the mix.
When I was sent some pomegranate juice drink from The Simply Great Drinks Co, I thought it would make a fabulous addition to my cake. And so it proved to be. Neither CT nor I are particularly keen on sweet drinks and this did taste very sweet. However, we found that a dilution of one third juice to two thirds water suited us very well; it tasted good and was particularly refreshing during hot days. It made for a rather tasty cocktail too – recipe to follow. In fact I only just managed to nab some for my cake before it ran out. The pomegranate flavour was to the fore and the colour was deep and jewel-like. With pomegranates trending as the latest superfood, consuming some has to be a good thing. However, it must be said that PomeGreat, as this drink is called, contains only 30% pomegranate juice. The rest is made up of water and other fruit juices from conentrate.
As some of you may remember, I carried out a cocoa powder tasting trial some time ago. It was Food Thoughts organic and fair-trade cocoa that came out best. Food Thoughts is available in Sainsbury’s, but is not stocked by the Co-op or anywhere else in Liskeard, so I don’t get to use it very often. Luckily, Food Thoughts kindly sent me a couple of pots recently, so it was this cocoa I used in my birthday cake.
On the day, friends hosted an afternoon tea party for me that ended up lasting long into the evening. It was a jolly affair and it even stopped raining long enough to have a walk around their beautiful garden and to spend half an hour sitting out on their newly created terrace. I did much of the baking for the occasion including the gooseberry mini cakes that have already featured. Surprisingly, the most popular bake of the day turned out to be some little muffins made from the gleanings of a weeding session down at the plot. They were modelled on this recipe for carrot and beetroot muffins, only I used tender leafy greens instead of the carrots and beetroot and omitted the cocoa powder. Greens, walnuts and goat’s cheese is a winning combination I found. I also made brownies, peanut butter cookies and madeleines. My friend made sandwiches, quiches and scones, so we had a veritable feast.
The cake went down a storm. No surprise, with its tangy fruity creamy combination it encapsulated summer. The chocolate cake itself was succulent with a light but substantial sponge that was infused with a hint of pomegranate.
A couple of days after my birthday when this cake had long since disappeared, my mother turned up with another birthday cake. Lucky me. I don’t get cakes made for me very often, so I was quite delighted. It was a well textured light fruit cake with a layer of marzipan beneath the icing and although very different, it was equally delicious.
I am sending this off to Emily over at A Mummy Too for her Recipe of the Week.
It also goes to Cook Blog Share with Lucy over at SuperGolden Bakes.
Tasty Tuesdays gets a look in too with Vicki at Honest Mum.
This also goes off to Jenny over at Mummy Bakes Cakes for July’s Celebration Cakes and Bakes.
- 225g unsalted butter
- 225g dark brown sugar
- 1 heaped tbsp golden syrup
- 4 large eggs (I used duck eggs)
- 225g flour (half wholemeal, half white)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 50g cocoa powder (I used Food Thoughts)
- 60g ground almonds
- 150ml pomegranate juice
- 200ml double cream
- 4 heaped tbsp lemon curd
- 300g strawberries – hulled and quartered
- 20g dark chocolate – shaved
Yield: 12 servings