Today I’m on BBC Radio Bristol talking about this blog and baking, and they asked me to bring in a cake that means something to me.
I found it really difficult to decide what to choose, as all of my cakes seem to conjure up some kind of memory for me. I finally narrowed it down though, and decided on a chocolate cake. Everybody loves chocolate cakes don’t they?! The recipe for this chocolate sponge is one I have used for many a birthday cake, from my friends, to children, and for work colleagues.
I wanted to spruce it up a bit though… I couldn’t just take in a standard chocolate sponge cake, even if it is a great recipe! So I took inspiration from Mary Berry (have you all been watching her new program?! AMAZING!).
Instead of two layers, this became a three layer cake. Instead of buttercream in between the layers, we now have cheesecake. YES, YOU READ THAT RIGHT. And instead of nothing covering it… We now have a ganache.
Don’t even think about how many calories are in this baby. Just don’t.
THIS is a showstopper.
For the cakes
260g self-raising flour
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1 ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
225g caster sugar
3 large eggs
225ml sunflower oil
3 tbsp honey
For the cheesecake filling
200g soft cheese (eg Philidelphia). Use full fat!
50g butter, softened
200g icing sugar
100g dark chocolate, melted and cooled
For the ganache frosting
300ml double cream
200g dark chocolate
For the chocolate curls decorations
50g dark chocolate
50g white chocolate
2 tsp sunflower oil
— Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease and line 3 sandwich tins (if you only have two tins, split the recipe to make two cakes, then one).
— Sift the flour, bicarb and cocoa into a bowl and add the sugar. In a jug, measure out the milk, honey and oil, the add the eggs to the liquids and whisk to break up the yolks. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix on a medium speed (or by hand) for a minute until everything is fully combined. The batter will be quite runny.
— Pour into the prepared tins and bake for around 25 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. The cakes should be springy and light, and coming away from the sides slightly. Leave the cakes to cool slightly for a minute or two, then run a sharp knife around the edges to loosen them, and remove them from the tins. Leave to cool on a cooling rack. They must be completely cool before you begin to decorate them.
— Next, make the ganache. Chop (or bash with a rolling pin) the dark chocolate. You don’t need to be too precious and chop it finely, just give it a good bash and it’ll be fine. The pieces should be smaller than normal squares of chocolate though. Place in a medium sized bowl.
— Warm the double cream on a low heat, stirring it to make sure it doesn’t form a skin. Just before it’s about to boil, pour the cream over the chocolate. Stir vigorously until it’s completely combined, all of the chocolate is melted and the ganache is starting to thicken. There will come a point where it looks like it’s gone horribly wrong, is splitting and curdling. Don’t worry! Keep stirring, and it will all come together, I promise.
— Once all the chocolate is melted, set it aside to firm up. I like to put mine in the fridge for half an hour (but no longer!). You want it soft enough that it can be spread easily but not so soft that it will fall down the sides.
— Now make the cheesecake layer. Melt the chocolate, either over a pan of boiling water or in a microwave. Set aside to cool. In a stand mixer (or by hand if you don’t have one), beat together the cream cheese and butter. Using full fat is important, as the lower fat version tends to go a bit runny.
— Sift in the icing sugar and mix until it’s all combined. When the chocolate is cooled, but not hard, add into the cheesecake mixture and mix well.
— Now it’s time to assemble the cake! Split the cheesecake mixture into two, and spread half on top of two of the sponges. Place one on top of the other, then the final sponge on top of the two.
— Spoon the ganache on top of the cake and use a palette knife to spread it all over the top. Ease it down the side of the cake and smooth it around so the whole cake has a layer of ganache covering it. The good thing about this cake is that it’s going to look and taste amazing – and the ganache is supposed to be a bit rough around the edges so don’t worry if it’s not completely perfect!
And that’s it! You can leave it as it is, or add decoration to it if you like. I have stated the ingredients above for the chocolate curls, but I will post a separate post on how to make these tomorrow.
I had a bit of gold shimmer spray in the cupboard so I gave it a little spray with that and it looked fab (you can pick those up in the home baking aisles of most supermarkets for a couple of pounds).