Last week I promised my daughter that I would bake a cake for her class’ Christmas party. I also promised a second cake for my son’s nursery. Yes, there is no end to my foolishness. The party was on Wednesday and the cake needed to be delivered in the morning. My son fell ill on Monday. He got the mother of all colds and he is particularly bad at coping with colds. So instead of baking cakes (or preparing for Christmas or even showering) I had a two-year-old surgically attached to my hip. He would not even sleep unless he was on my lap.
If it was anything else I would have shrugged it off, but promising a 6 year old a cake for school and then not delivering is, literally, THE END OF THE WORLD. In the end, I managed to bake a cake on Tuesday late evening and then I had to fill it and frost it in 30 minutes before taking it to school in time to attend the Nativity show the following morning (while Dad was dealing with the screaming toddler). It was like a scene from Great British Bake Off – ‘you have 5 minutes to finish your bake before presenting to the judges’. It was very stressful. In the end, I managed to make a ganache filling and chocolate glaze in the nick of time. The cake was so tall that the dome of the cake carrier took a nice chunk of my perfect glaze off just before I got to the school. Needless to say my swearing was epic (out of earshot of the kids thankfully). As you will see from the picture I patched the glazing accident with some (eggless! – see below) gingerbread snowflakes.
Because of allergies, the cake had to be free of nuts and eggs. Avoiding nuts is easy enough but I don’t think I have ever baked an eggless cake before. A bit of research later and I settled on a Vegan chocolate cake which uses no eggs or butter. Since it did not actually need to be vegan I replaced the soy milk with full fat cow’s milk. This recipe looks very long but it really is not complicated! You can make the cake a day before you frost it – just keep it covered at room temperature. I have been told the cake was A-MA-ZING. Sadly I do not have a picture of it sliced…
(Not actually vegan) Chocolate Cake with rich chocolate fudge filling and chocolate glaze
For the cake
(adapted from Tea with Bea)
275g / 2 cups plain flour
100g / 3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
450ml/ 1 2/3 cups full fat milk or unsweetened soya milk for a vegan version
2 tsp red wine vinegar
320g /1 1/4 cup caster sugar
320ml/ 1 1/4 cup sunflower oil
2 tbsp vanilla extract
3x20c m /8 inch cake tins greased and lined
5 tbsp water
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp cocoa powder
Chocolate fudge filling
(adapted from Tea with Bea)
250ml/1 cup double cream or whipping cream
3 tbsp golden syrup
300gr /12 oz. good quality dark chocolate (50% cocoa solids minimum)
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or extract)
60gr / 4 tbsp unsalted butter
150ml / 2/3 cup full fat milk
100gr / 1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp golden syrup
60 gr / 2 oz good quality dark chocolate 70% cocoa, chopped
Start by preheating the oven to 160 C (315 F). Put the flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder & bicarb of soda in a bowl and sift them twice. It’s a pain but makes all the difference.
Put the milk, vinegar, sugar, oil and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix to combine. Add the sifted flour mix in three stages mixing well after each addition. Take a large spoon and give a final stir to make sure the batter is free of any lumps. Do not overmix. Pour the batter evenly into the three pans and bake in the oven for about 50-55 minutes (or slighly longer). The cake will come away from the edge of the cake tin when ready. Test by inserting a skewer which should come out free of crumbs.
While cake is in the oven make the chocolate glaze – put all the
ingredients in a pan, bring to the boil for a minute then cool. Brush the syrup over the cakes while they are still a bit warm.
To make the chocolate filling put the cream and goldern syrup in a pan and bring to the boil. Meanwhile chop the chocolate intro small pieces and put in a bowl. Once cream comes to the boil pour it over the chocolate and leave it for a couple minutes.
Take a whisk and very slowly start stirring the chocolate from the middle of the bowl using small circles. Gradually start stirring in larger circles until a glossy mix forms. Once the cream is completely incorporated add the butter in small pieces and the vanilla and stir until well combined. Leave to cool. Once cool, whip it with hand/stand mixer until thick.
To make the glaze put the milk and sugar in a deep pan. Simmer gently until sugar disolves then boil violently for a minute or longer (it will bubble up so keep an eye on it!) until the mix thickens and becomes syrupy. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate to the pan. Let sit for couple of minutes then stir with a whisk till melted. Add the butter and vanilla and stir gently to combine. Let it cool before using. It should be very glossy and shiny.
To assemble the cake, place one cake on your cake plate/stand. Spread a generous quantity of the chocolate fudge filling on top and level. Carefully position second cake on top and repeatt. Be aware the cakes are rather fragile and prone to breaking – I think it’s the lack of eggs. Place last layer on top and then put a large dollop of the chocolate fudge on top of the cake. Using a palette knife slowly smooth the filling on top till it starts dripping down the sides of the cake. Then use the knife or a pastry scraper to smooth the chocolate on the sides of the assembled cake. Add more filling if you need to, there’s plenty to go round. (This is a lot easier if you have a turntable but it is not essential). You only need a thin layer of the fudge coating the cake – a ‘crumb coating’. If you can, put the cake in the fridge till the crumb coat sets. I did not have time for that so I added the chocolate glaze on top and again smoothed it till it dripped down the sides. If you have spare fudge you can use it to pipe decorations on the cake – it holds it’s shape beautifully. Put cake in the fridge to set but serve at room temperature.
|No time for pretty pictures – this was shot at school staff room|