Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Rich Chocolate Cake

My gang absolutely love anything that contains chocolate and are constantly bemoaning the fact that I don’t use it more often in my cooking and baking. They would be quite happy if I spent all my time in the kitchen baking chocolate chip cookies, chocolate cake and the like!
 
Truth be told, I am often disappointed with a lot of desserts and cakes that contain chocolate as they either don’t actually taste of chocolate or contain chocolate that is far too bitter. I want something that has a full and genuine chocolate flavour and is satisfying to eat. To use chocolate effectively requires a deft touch and an appreciation of this hugely popular ingredient.
 
I have been on the hunt for a chocolate cake recipe that satisfies my rather exacting requirements and think that this one in pretty much perfect in all regards. It is rich with an intense chocolate flavour being provided by the inclusion of both melted chocolate and cocoa powder. However, due to the use of whisked egg whites, which are folded into the cake batter just prior to baking, the resulting cake is light and not too heavy or dense and is not dry to eat. Finally, it is covered by a thin layer of chocolate ganache which sets to a beautiful glossy icing on the finished cake.
 
Although I used a chocolate with 70% cocoa solids in the cake batter, I decided that this would be a little too bitter for the ganache icing and used one with 58% cocoa solids instead. This still gave a good chocolate hit and made the resulting cake palatable to adults and children alike. If you like, you can flavour the icing with a little brandy, Cointreau or other liqueur to make it a really grown-up and indulgent treat but if it is being consumed by children leave it as is. Either way, this cake is delicious.
 
As regular readers will know, I love cakes that are adaptable and can be served as a dessert or as a cake in its own right and this is one that works well as both!
 

Ingredients:

130g butter
170g caster sugar
5 large eggs, separated
130g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids) melted and allowed to cool a little
100g self-raising flour
15g cocoa powder
Icing:
175g dark chocolate (58% cocoa solids), roughly chopped into small pieces
125ml double cream
 

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 170C/Fan Oven 150C/Gas Mark 3. Butter and flour a 27cm round spring-form tin and set aside.
2. Place the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and using a hand-electric mix, beat together until light and fluffy. Add in the egg yolks, one-by-one mixing well before adding the next.
3. Stir in the cooled melted chocolate and sieve the flour and cocoa powder together and fold into the batter. In a separate, clean bowl using clean whisk attachments on your hand-held electric mixer, whip the egg whites until they stand in stiff peaks.
4. Mix one third of the egg whites through the batter to loosen it and fold in the remainder, trying to preserve as much of the air as possible. Make sure the egg whites are well mixed in and then pour the batter into the prepared tin, levelling out the mixture to the edges of the tin. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, until risen and springy to the touch. Do not over-bake as this will result in a dry cake.
5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out to finish cooling completely on a wire rack.
Icing:
6. Place the chocolate in a medium sized bowl. Place the double cream in a small saucepan and heat until over a moderate heat until the cream is almost boiling. Immediately pour the heated cream over the chopped chocolate and stir using a small whisk until all the chocolate has melted and the mixture has a thick sauce like consistency.
7. Allow to cool for twenty minutes or so, stirring every-now-and-again until the mixture has thickened slightly. Spread over the COOLED cake, spreading it out slightly with a small off-set spatula, if required. Allow to stand for an hour before serving in order to give the icing a chance to set.

Serves 10-12.