A surprise late Christmas gift arrived in the post the other day. It was actually a prize from Rose of Now & Then Delicious for the mince pies I made from orange pastry and my homemade chocolate mincemeat. I was well chuffed that I’d won and really pleased to have this little copy of baking: 100 everyday recipes published by Parragon Books arrive through the post. It has lots of standard recipes in it, but also quite a few little gems, such as fig and almond muffins, that I’m quite keen to make. As I had a friend’s birthday cake to bake, it seemed only polite to try one of the recipes from this book.
Chocolate fudge cake was the chosen one. This was a 20 cm sandwich cake; as I don’t have any 20 cm moulds (I really must get some as they would be REALLY useful), I thought smaller would be better than bigger, so went for an 18 cm cake and four cupcakes. I also cut down the quantity of ganache used.
This is what I did:
- Creamed 175g unsalted butter with 175g vanilla sugar (caster) until well incorporated and fluffy textured.
- Beat in 3 tbsp of syrup and a pinch of salt.
- Beat in 3 medium eggs alternating with a spoonful of the flour mixture.
- Sieved in 175g flour (half wholemeal, half white), 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda, 40g cocoa powder and 40g ground almonds.
- Stirred this in alternating with about 50 ml of milk (although would have used water as stated in recipe if I didn’t have some milk that needed using up).
- Spooned into two buttered 18cm tins and 4 cupcake cases.
- Baked for 20 minutes at 180C.
- Melted 150g dark chocolate (used Green&Blacks 72% cook’s chocolate) in a heavy pan over a gentle heat with 1oz dark muscovado sugar and 110g unsalted butter.
- Stirred until smooth.
- Added 5 tbsp double cream and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.
- Stirred and left in my cold kitchen for about 1/2 an hour to firm up – but not set!
- Used some to sandwich the two cakes together, then spread most of the rest over the top and around the sides of the cake, leaving just enough to top the four cupcakes.
- Decorated with silver stars on top and alternating pink and white sugar flowers around the edge.
The cake proved to be a great hit at the impromptu birthday party, which followed on after a brisk walk along the river Fowey. It was a nice moist cake with a good slab of ganache in the middle. If that sounds solid, it really wasn’t. The ganache had a melt in the mouth texture and was darkly chocolatey. It also tasted slightly fudgey due to the brown sugar, but was not overly sweet.