Morning all! Yet another indulgent recipe from me today… I’m noticing that all the supermarkets are promoting all their ‘healthy eating’ ranges at the moment and I’m feeling a little guilty at my seemingly blatant resistance against everyone else’s January resolutions but I promise this won’t last much longer (2 more birthday cakes in January and then I’m back to branching out in the kitchen – there’s exciting things to come)!
It was a friends birthday over the weekend and after promising to make him a birthday cake a while back, I’ve spent the last few weeks trying to find out his favourite kind. After discovering he loved chocolate cake and malteasers, there was only one cake in my mind for me to make!
This is a cake that I’ve come up with over the years after reading and trying out numerous recipes and I suppose it’s sort of an amalgamation of several of my favourite recipes! I often find that chocolate cakes – especially shop bought ones – can be really dry, but the milk and melted chocolate in this recipe definitely pack a lot of moisture into the cake which prevents the cake from drying out whilst baking. It’s a really easy bake and from start to finish will take no more than 2 1/2 hours including decoration so what’s not to love?!
I have two icings that I turn to when decorating chocolate cakes. The first one is a fudge-y type icing made with nutella and mascarpone that is definitely one to go for if you’ve got little ones around – its sweet without being sickly and always goes down well with chocolate/hazelnut lovers. The second one (pictured) is a simple chocolate glacé icing that gives the cake a brilliant smooth and glossy finish and leaves it looking like it could have been bought from a bakery – I always get compliments on the appearance of the cake with this one!
Ingredients (Serves 8-10)
For the cake:
50g Dark Chocolate (70% cocoa solids minimum)
175g Unsalted Butter or Margarine, softened
175g Caster Sugar ( or 125g Caster Sugar, 50g Soft Brown Sugar)
3 Large Eggs
150g Self Raising Flour
25g Cocoa Powder
1 Tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
1.5 Tsp Vanilla Extract
2 Tbsp Milk (any kind will work)
For the fudge filling & icing:
2 Tbsp Chocolate Hazelnut Spread
For the glossy icing (pictured):
350g Icing Sugar
30g Cocoa Powder
20g Drinking Chocolate
2 Tbsp Milk (any kind will do)
3-5 Tsp Cold Water (you may need more or less depending on how thick or runny you want your icing to be)
For the cake:
– Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F and grease two 8in/20cm sandwich tins or one 9in/23cm cake tin.
Add the chocolate to a small heatproof bowl and place it over a pan of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Leave to melt, stirring occasionally.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the margarine and sugar for about 5 minutes, until light and fluffy and pale cream in colour.
Add the eggs to this bowl, mixing each one in one at a time. Once all the eggs are in, give the mix a stir to make sure all the ingredients are combined (we don’t want to over mix it once the flour has been added)!
Now sift the flour, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda in to the mixture and fold in gently until everything is smoothly combined and there are no hidden pockets of flour.
By now, the chocolate on the hob should have melted, so remove from the heat and leave to cool for 2 minutes.
Once cool, add the chocolate along with the vanilla extract and milk to the cake mixture and stir only until everything is combined.
Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin/s and place in the centre of the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes until they are firm and springy to the touch and a skewer can be inserted in the centre of the cakes and comes out clean!
Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes until transferring to a wire rack to cool completely (at least 1 hour).
For the fudge icing:
Its best to prepare the icing when the cake is in the oven, so it has time to chill and set a bit in the fridge.
Add the mascarpone and chocolate spread to a mixing bowl and stir together until you have a smooth, evenly covered mixture.
Transfer the icing to the fridge and leave it to chill before using it once the cake has cooled.
When the cakes have completely cooled down, it’s time to start decorating!
Add half of the chocolate icing to the top of one of the cakes and smooth over using a palette knife, spatula or the back of a dessert spoon until you have an even layer.
If using the jam, use a palette knife to add an even layer of jam to the bottom of the other cake.
Sandwich the two cakes together and, using a palette knife, spatula or the back of a dessert spoon, spread the remaining chocolate icing over the top of the cake.
For the glossy icing:
Sift the cocoa powder and icing sugar into a small mixing bowl and slowly stir in the milk. Add the water 1 tsp at a time, stirring after each addition, until you reach your desired consistency. You want a consistency that is similar to ketchup (I know, a weird comparison to make here), so you can spread the icing over the top of the cake and let it drip down the sides slowly.
Serve the cake as it is, or finish off the decorations with extra chocolates or sweets.
* The cake will keep for 3-5 days when stored in an airtight container. If using the fudge icing, it’s best to store the cake in the fridge to keep the mascarpone from spoiling.