October 9, 2009

Steve’s Birthday Chocolate Cake

Steve's Chocolate Bday Cake

Today was Steve’s birthday!

His Mum usually makes him a cake, but this year we agreed I would have the honour. Even though I’m pretty confident at knocking out a cake or batch of biscuits for afternoon tea, making a celebratory cake was a bit daunting as you want it to be perfect for the special occasion!

So I didn’t want to try anything too ambitious, but I still wanted it to be special. I wanted to make him the Ultimate Chocolate Cake from the BBC Good Food website, but a mix up with the food shopping meant that I didn’t have any buttermilk which is a vital ingredient. So instead I used the sponge recipe from the Chococcino Cake which I loved as it was moist and dense and it didn’t require any special ingredients. I didn’t have any mascarpone to make the icing, so I just made a chocolate buttercream which I nicked from a Rachel Allen recipe and it worked well. I tried to make chocolate curls but failed – I think the chocolate needed to be a bit warmer, but it’s such a cold rainy day today and the central heating hadn’t kicked in properly yet.

The cake still looked and tasted good so I was happy. I’ve also made him his favourite for dinner: Thai Massaman Curry. For dessert he requested Crème Brulee, which I made slightly differently so check out that recipe to read the verdict!

  • Makes: 1 8-inch round cake
  • Oven temperature: Gas mark 4/350°F/180°C
  • You will need: 2x 8-inch (20cm) round loose-bottomed sandwich tins

Ingredients for the sponge:
  • 200g soft, butter, plus extra for greasing (I used Stork)
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 140g self-raising flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 85g good-quality cocoa powder (I used Bournville)
  • 2 Tablespoons milk

  1. Heat oven to Gas mark 4/350°F/180°C.
  2. Grease 2 x 20cm non-stick round sandwich tins.
  3. Place the butter and sugar into a food processor and whizz until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one by one, whizzing after each egg until it is incorporated (you can add a tablespoon of flour with each egg to prevent it from curdling). Add the flour, cocoa and baking powder and process until smooth. Then add the milk and whizz again.
  4. Divide the mix between the cake tins (use your spatula to create a slight dip in the middle so that when it bakes the top is level), then bake for 20-25 mins until it feels springy to the touch and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  5. When cool enough to handle, remove the cakes from the tins but leave on the bases to cool completely on a rack.

For the icing:
  1. Place 75g room temperature unsalted butter in a food processor with 1 Tablespoon double cream and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and whizz until smooth. Then add 175g icing sugar and 1 Tablespoon good quality Cocoa powder and continue to mix until well incorporated. If it’s a cold day, you might need to add a little bit more cream to make it a spreading consistency.
  2. Spread the icing over both of the cakes, then stack them.
  3. Use a vegetable peeler to make curls of chocolate from a bar, this should work better if the chocolate is slightly warm.


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