Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Death by Chocolate Cake
It was my friend Steve's birthday on Tuesday, so of course I had to make him a birthday cake. Steve is a chocolate lover, which means I had to make him a chocolate cake.
A quick flick through the books and I alighted on what sounded like the perfect candidate - Death by Chocolate from the Great Book of British Baking. This is one crazy recipe - 300g of chocolate, 5 eggs, and not much else!! It certainly is gluten free - no flour, almond meal or any other agent you normally associate with cake. Because it stuck to the pan a little, I got to taste the cake - it is a really light, fluffy chocolate sponge. What I had tasted rather nice.
The frosting is a ganache of sorts, but for some reason, mine did not turn out right - the recipe said to pour the topping onto the cake, but mine was so thick, that was never going to happen. I also lost the "gloss" of the topping because I worked it hard to cover up what I considered to be the ugly sides of the cake - which I also disguised with coconut. The frosting also repelled the writing icing, so I had a long struggle trying to get the piping to stick to the cake.
For decoration, I broke up some shards of chocolate decorated with transfers that I bought from Sisko in Hawthorn. The transfers featured chickens and eggs for Easter, and the name "Peter Russell Clarke". Peter Russell Clarke is a well known TV personality of yore here, famous for saying, "Where's the Cheese?" in a series of TV ads back in the 1980s. It's a long story as to why his design was transferred onto some chocolate, but that is a story for the lovely Christina of Sisko to tell, not me.
I used Steve's photo of the cake in this post because it is so much better than my own - dang! I even brought out my new tripod to take my photos, but they are still trumped by this one, which Steve posted on Facebook.
To make this cake, you will need:
300g dark chocolate
150g diced butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
200g dark chocolate
Grease and line a 22cm cake tin, and set aside. Grease it well - my cake stuck to the sides of the tin where I did not line it with baking paper.
Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Break up the chocolate for the cake and put it into a heatproof bowl with the butter, and melt together over a pan of steaming hot water, stirring frequently. Once the chocolate has melted, remove the bowl from the heat and leave to cool while you continue on with the cake.
Break the eggs into a large mixing bowl, add the vanilla and whisk with an electric mixer to break up the eggs. Add the sugar and whisk until pale, very thick and mousse-like, and about 5 times the original volume.
Pour the chocolate into the egg mixture and gently fold it in. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 35-45 minutes, until just firm to the touch.
Run a knife around the inside of the cake tin to loosen the sponge, then leave the cake in the tin on a wire rack to cool completely. Note that the cake is meant to sink - the recipe even says so.
Unmould the cake onto a serving plate upside down so that the base of the cake becomes the top.
To make the frosting, break up the chocolate and put it into a large heatproof bowl with the cream. Melt them together until the chocolate is half-melted, then remove from the heat and beat well until the chocolate is glossy. Pour the topping (if you can!) evenly over the cake and let it run down the sides. (There was no running here - just spreading with a spatula.) Decorate as desired. Leave the frosting to firm up, preferably overnight, before serving.
Happy birthday Steve!