I am conscious that I haven’t posted for a while and that so far I haven’t blogged about baking. So much so it is going me nightmares. The truth is that I have just been really lazy this week and rather just get on and write, I have taken the option of drinking wine… (Speaking of which, Morrison’s have a lovely St Chinian red on offer for £4.99, it is usually £9.99, V. good!)
It was my Father in Laws birthday last weekend and rather than make cupcakes (blog post on those to follow!) I decided to make a good old fashioned chocolate cake, with a bit of a fruity twist.
The idea of raspberries with chocolate is a very common combination and I think that the inclusion of a raspberry cream as the cake filling really helps to cut through the richness of the cake. The cake consists of a rich chocolate sponge, the raspberry cream and the whole thing is then covered in a beautiful, thick chocolate ganache icing.
The different elements of the cake are an amalgamation of 3 different Nigella Lawson recipes, who I think is pretty reliable when it comes to cake. (Although I have to say I don’t ever take cake decorating tips from her, she’s a bit scruffy for my liking and she’d probably agree with me).
Raspberry Chocolate Cake
For the cake
50g/2oz best-quality cocoa powder, sifted
100g/4oz dark muscovado sugar
250ml/8fl oz boiling water
125g/4½oz soft unsalted butter, plus some for greasing
150g/5oz caster sugar
225g/8oz plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 free-range eggs
For the raspberry cream
1 punnet raspberries
300ml extra thick double cream
For the icing
75g unsalted butter
175g best quality dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
300g icing sugar
1 tablespoon golden syrup
125ml sour cream
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
1 punnet of raspberries, to decorate
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Line the bottoms of two 20cm/8in sandwich tins with baking parchment and butter the sides.
Sift the cocoa into a large bowl and mix in the dark muscovado sugar. Pour in the boiling water and mix. Se to one side to cool slightly
Cream the butter and caster sugar together in a separate bowl, well until pale and fluffy
Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda together in another bowl and set aside for a moment.
Dribble the vanilla extract into the creamed butter and, then crack in one egg, quickly followed by a spoonful of the flour mixture (this stops it from curdling), then the second egg. Keep mixing after each addition. Incorporate the rest of the flour mixture little by little, then finally mix and fold in the cocoa mixture.
Divide the batter between the two cake tins and put in the oven for about 30 minutes. (Mine cooked in about 20, so be aware! If a cake tester comes out clean, it’s done!)
Leave the tins on a wire rack for 5-10 minutes, then turn the cakes out and set aside to cool. It took a good hour and a half – 2 hours.
For the filling, simply fork through the raspberries into the cream. If you haven’t bought thick double cream, you will need to whip it beforehand until it is soft and voluminous, but not too stiff.
To make the icing, melt the butter and chocolate in a good-sized bowl, set to one side.
While the chocolate and butter are cooling a little, sieve the icing sugar into another bowl.
Add the golden syrup to the cooled chocolate mixture, followed by the sour cream and vanilla and then when all this is combined whisk in the sieved icing sugar.
When you’ve done, you may need to add a little boiling water or more icing sugar depending if you need it to be thicker or runnier. It should be liquid enough to coat the cake easily, but thick enough not to drip off. In any case, the icing will dry off quite firm.
Assembling and decorating the cake
On your cake stand / plate cut out four strips of baking parchment to form a square outline on it (this stops the icing running on to the plate). Then sit one of the cakes, with the domed side down.
Spread the raspberry cream into the cake half evenly and smoothly with a palette knife / spatula. Sit the other cake on top, normal way up, pressing gently to sandwich the two together.
Spoon half of the icing on to the top of the cake and spread it over evenly. Spread the sides of the cake with the remaining icing and leave a few minutes till set, then carefully pull away the paper strips.
Decorate with raspberries. To keep them in place, I dipped the bottom ends into the icing to stick.
Try and not to devour it all at once.