Sunday, February 16, 2014

Chocolate, lots of chocolate, and even more cream

Valentines weekend has mostly been about food - a very unromantic bout of marmalade making, further proof that I'm inclined to over boil a haggis thus bursting it (proof I could have done without) and the happy realisation that I can poach an egg (I don't much like them so had never tried before but by some happy chance I didn't over cook it and it stayed nice and neat). There was also a chocolate pudding/cake which I'm prepared to be quite enthusiastic about.

My family are coming for dinner tomorrow and basically lots of chocolate with even more cream is the pudding that should please most of us, it will undoubtedly give my father indigestion but it's what he wanted so it's what he's going to get (specifically he wanted the pudding, he's just going to have to put up with the indigestion). The cake in question is Fiona Cairns 'Chocolate love cake' though as I don't have a suitable heart shaped tin mine is just a chocolate cake. I made one for Friday night half thinking it would do for Monday as well but in the end have had a second go partly to improve on my first attempt but mostly because there wasn't enough left to go round. 

This isn't so much a cake as it is a huge chocolate truffle sitting on some sponge, it needs to be made the day before you want it but otherwise it's beautifully simple. You make a syrup from 25g of golden castor sugar and 25mls of water bought to a gentle boil and simmered for a couple of minutes, add 50 mls of liqueur or brandy (for my second attempt I'm using frangelico and I'm also going to throw some hazelnut praline on top of it) and set aside for a moment. For the sponge base Fiona says you can use a ready made flan case because it only needs a thin layer, and I'm not going to argue, they're about 99p which is both far cheaper and much less trouble than making a cake specially. Cut the sponge base to fit into a 20cm cake tin (it needs to have a removable base) and then brush the syrup over it until it's all soaked in. Meanwhile melt 220g of good quality dark chocolate (in a bowl over a pan of hot water) and whip 450ml of double cream until it's just beginning to thicken. She really means it when she says just beginning to thicken, first time round I over whipped the cream so the texture was slightly wrong in the finished article - still delicious but not quite right. When the chocolate is just melted and still hot, slowly pour it over the cream whipping it all the time as you go. As soon as it's incorporated pour it over the sponge (even second time round that was more a case of spooning and smoothing than actual pouring) then cover in clingfilm and stick in the fridge until it's time to serve. I like everything about this cake.  


  1. This sounds magnificent - no other word for it. I'll be searching out Fiona Cairns' book.

  2. It's from seasonal baking which is proving to he a brilliant book, there's a lot of stuff in it I want to make. The original recipe calls for whipping cream which would doubtless be better but I had double (and a budget) so that's what I used.