A ‘spot’ of baking was in order for BBC Children In Need last week, and so emerging from my kitchen was a rather chocolatey offering.
Encasing a cocoa-enriched cake sandwiched with home-made damson jam was a creamy dark chocolate ganache, lavishly decorated with chocolate fingers, Maltesers and Smarties. If you’ve got the aforementioned treats lurking in your cupboard, this cake is one sure-fire way of putting them to a deliciously good use!
Gone Dotty Chocolate Cake
For the cake:
8oz golden caster sugar
8oz butter, softened
4 large eggs
6oz wholemeal self raising flour
2oz good-quality cocoa powder
For the filling:
A berry-flavoured jam of your choice
For the ganache:
100g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa)
1 heaped tablespoon golden syrup
A couple of tubes of Smarties
A large bag of Maltesers
A box of Cadbury’s Milk Chocolate Fingers – or two, if like me, you have a habit of munching on them!
Pre-heat the oven to Gas 5 / 180 degrees / 160 fan. Grease and line 2 x 7-inch sandwich pans.
To make the cake, cream together the butter and sugar using an electric whisk or beaters until light and creamy, to get maximum fluffiness for your effort and to save your arms from dropping off (wooden spoons are sooo last season!). Beat in an egg a time, accompanied by a tablespoon of the flour, until all the eggs are used up. Now carefully fold in the rest of the flour and cocoa powder using a metal spoon until combined, treating it like a delicate flower – this is how you end up with a light cake, so avoid beating the life out of it!
Divide the mix between the two pans and give them a good tap to level out the mix. Pop in the oven and bake for around 25-35 minutes, until a skewer or a cocktail stick comes out clean when inserted into the middle. Ovens vary! Once cooked, allow to cool for 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Once cool, sandwich the two cakes together with your choice of jam in the middle (or Nutella if you fancy!).
Now it’s time to prepare the ganache. Be warned – this is a bit of a pesky one and can go from liquid to solid in about a minute, so you need to be ready to work fast! Have to hand a palette knife (for smoothing the ganache over the cake) and have all of your decorations lined up ready to stick on before it sets!
Here we go: melt the chocolate, butter and golden syrup in a glass bowl over a barely simmering pan of water – don’t let the bowl touch the water! Stir well then allow to cool until it becomes thick – the test is when it falls of a spoon in a robust dollop as opposed to a thin pour. To speed things up, (as it can take a while to cool), I tend to pop the bowl in the fridge and take it out for a stir at 4-5 minute intervals.
When it’s at the stage that it can be spread without a) running down the side of the cake or b) going stiff to the point of unmovable, then coat the cake from the top down to the sides. If you go past the point of no return and the ganache has gone hard, simply pop the bowl in the microwave on defrost for 5 seconds and stir it until it gets to the right consistency again. It’s trial and error with this one, but well worth the attention! Smother with decorations in any design you wish – be arty and have fun! I like to put a chocolate finger ‘fence’ around the sides and a pretty pattern of spots on top, but feel free to go where the wind takes you with this one!
If you have any goodies left at the end, pop the kettle on, make a cuppa and eat them selfishly before the hubby or kids see them; you’ve earned it!