Saturday, 14 April 2012

Squashy Chocolate Fudge Birthday Cake

We've had a birthday this week! And in our home this means ... CAKE! Lots of it! We all love cake, and of course it is the privelige of the birthday person to get to choose which sort of cake they'd like to have on their special day. It was Little Bear's turn this time around, and she chose a decadent moist chocolate fudge cake that we've christened "Squashy Chocolate Fudge Cake" because that indeed is what it is! (I know that in the background of the picture above, there is what looks like a Christmas ornament. In fact it is a cookie jar in the shape of a gingerbread man, and whilse it probably is a Christmas ornament, we use it year-round! Mind though I am sure that this cake would probably make a wonderful alternative to traditional Christmas cake too!). Of course, Little Bear did have candles on her cake (and the "Happy Birthday" song, which we don't sing in English, although the tune is the same), but this picture was taken before we put them on.

If you too would like to experience the guilty pleasure of eating Squashy Chocolate Fudge Cake, here is the recipe. I have combined 3 separate recipes to create this, so I will write them out below. This cake takes a while to make because of the extra time needed for the frosting ...

For the cake (this is an English recipe, but I converted the weights to cups as this is what I prefer to use in cooking - we don't own a set of weighing scales) ...

1 cup good quality plain chocolate chips (or 200 g)
1 tablespoon short of 1 cup butter (or 200 g)
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
2/3 cup self-rising flour (or 85 g)
2/3 cup all-purpose flour (or 85 g)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda (not baking powder)
1 cup golden caster sugar (or 200 g)
1 cup packed brown sugar (or 220g)
1/4 cup cocoa powder (or 30 g)
5 tablespoons buttermilk (or 75 mls)
3 eggs

1. Begin by melting the chocolate chips, butter, coffee and 125 mls cold water in a saucepan on a low heat (you can also do this with a microwave).
2. Set aside, and weigh out the flours, baking soda, sugars and cocoa powder into a large bowl.
3. Beat the eggs together with the buttermilk.
4. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and fold in gently.
5. Add the melted chocolate mixture and fold until smooth (may take a few minutes). The mixture will be quite loose, about the thickness of cornbread batter.
6. Pour into a lined 20 cm cake tin (I used 2 smaller tins - but read below!).
7. Bake in the centre of a moderate oven (fan 140, conventional 160, gas mark 3) for about 1 hour 15 minutes (it took 1 hour 5 minutes in our fan assisted oven, but I was using 2 smaller tins instead of one big one. However this did cause rather a dramatic overflow of batter as it cooked, becuase this cake really rises! Be warned!).
8. Test for doneness by inserting a knife into the centre of the cake, if it is done it will come out clean.
9. Remove tin/s from the oven, then very carefully turn out onto a wire rack to cool. Whilse it is still hot it is very fragile - but it will firm up and be easier to handle as it cools. Don't worry if you get the odd crack or split. Just put the pieces back together and it will meld back as it cools (well, ours did, anyways!).

For the centre frosting ...

1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
1/4 cup powdered (icing) sugar
1 tablespoon cocoa powder

Beat the ingredients together briefly (they will whip up much faster than cream alone does, so don't overdo it). Place in the fridge until you are ready to use.

For the top frosting ...

1/4 pint heavy (whipping) cream
3/4 cup chocolate chips

1. Put the cream and the chocolate chips into a small heavy-based saucepan and warm on a low heat until the chips are melted.
2. Immediately remove from the heat and stir well.
3. Allow to cool slightly, then place in the fridge.
4. Leave to cool in the fridge, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is stiff enough to spread on the cake (takes about an hour).

Embellish your cake as you like - we used white and plain chocolate curls. This cake will easily serve at least 12 people - it is very rich - but absolutely delicious - you have been warned!

(Left-overs should be kept in the fridge).