27th July 2012
Recipe 100 – I can’t believe I’ve baked and eaten 99 cakes since December, no wonder I’m feeling a bit heavier!
I chose this recipe as it was more difficult than some of the others and I was also going to a birthday/Olympic party this evening and had said I would provide the desserts. Looking through the recipe I think I probably should have baked this yesterday. However, all jobs were out of the way, so I had an afternoon in which to bake this. I’d already made a Key Lime Pie to take, but wanted to do this as well as it could also be a birthday cake/dessert.
The first thing I noticed was the fact that a deep 23cm (9″) round cake tin was required. I only have a 20cm tin. I really must get down to Lakeland and buy one. So the 23cm tin would have to do. This was greased and lined with baking parchment. The oven was put on to pre-heat.
This recipe takes up two pages in Mary’s book, so I knew it was going to take a while. First the butter was put in to a pan and heated gently until it had melted. This then had to cool.
Next 6 large eggs were cracked into a bowl and to this I added 175g of caster sugar. This had to be mixed on full speed with my hand mixer until the mixture was pale and creamy and thick enough to leave a small trail when the whisk is lifted. In all this probably took nearly 10 minutes. Not a good thing to do on a warm afternoon. In a separate bowl went the flour, cocoa and cornflour which were then all sieved together.
Half the flour mixture was then folded in to the egg mixture. Carefully, very carefully. This seemed to take an age, I kept finding lumps of cocoa and flour. Once I was happy this had all been folded in half the cooled butter was poured around the outside edge and again folded in. This process was them repeated with the remaining flour mixture and again with the butter.
The mixture was then poured into the tin. First part of the cake was over and all seemed relatively easy.
Whilst the cake was cooking I thought I’d make some little cakes to take to the party too, so a quick look through the ‘Bible’ and I found that I hadn’t yet made the Mini Cakes from the Baking with Children’s section of the book, so thought I would quickly make these (Recipe 101 )
The chocolate cake in the oven soon began to smell lovely. After 35 minutes I had a look at it as Mary says it should take between 35-40 minutes. The cake was well risen but the top wasn’t springy,so I left it in the oven for another 5 minutes, again it still wasn’t very springy so it was in total left in the oven for another 15 minutes. I was beginning to worry now and think that I probably rushed at this stage and took it out of the oven too soon. It was left in the tin for a few minutes and then removed from the tin and the parchment removed and left to cool.
The tin was washed and dried and the cake was then cut in to half horizontally. Looking at both halves I realised that the top half was lovely and fluffy and looked cooked, but the bottom half to me looked under-cooked in the middle. I decided to put the bottom half back in the oven for another 10 minutes. I’m not sure whether this made any difference or not as the cake had already cooled. All I think this did was made the top of the bottom half of the cake dry (if that makes sense!)
There was nothing I could do now so I thought I may as well get on with making the mousse. The plain chocolate was broken up into a bowl and a couple of spoonfuls of brandy were added to it. Luckily we had some brandy – I’d obviously omitted to read this bit when I first read the recipe, but there in the small cupboard under the stairs was a half bottle of brandy. Now I think this is where it started to go wrong, or maybe not, until I know somebody else who has made this cake I won’t know. The chocolate didn’t appear to melt – I stirred it occasionally but it never became ‘runny’ it just sort of went into a squidgy lump.
Whilst this was happening I had to put some powdered gelatine into 1tbsp of water and allow it to ‘sponge’. After 10 minutes this was stood in another bowl of warm water and allowed to dissolve.
The melted chocolate or squidgy lump in my case was left to cool. Next separatf two eggs. At this point it did go wrong. My cook book was on the opposite worktop to the one I was working at, as I turned around to make sure I was doing everything correctly an egg slipped out of my hand and smashed on the floor and against the cooker. I could have cried. Out came the mop and bucket and the floor was washed over. Back to baking – two egg yolks were required, so what did I do cracked the egg into a bowl – the whole egg, didn’t even think of separating it. Luckily I put the half shell into the egg and managed to scoop the egg yolk out without breaking it. The second egg was cracked and separated correctly. The egg yolks were then stirred into the chocolate mixture. This made it look a little bit more appetising, but not much.
A pot of double cream was whisked to soft peaks and folded into the chocolate. The gelatine was added and stirred through. It was beginning to look better!
Lastly the egg whites were whisked until stiff and these were gently folded in.
The bottom half of the cake was put back into the cake tin and the mousse poured on top. This was very gently levelled and the top half of the cake put on top. Into the fridge it went to set.
Whilst the mousse was setting the decorations were to be made. The cake was to be covered with caraque (chocolate curls), but given the warm weather I decided against this as there was no way they were going to work, it was far too warm in my kitchen. Once the cake was chilled and the fact it was nearly time to go to the party, the cake was removed from the tin. It actually didn’t look too bad. More cream was whipped and this was piped onto the top of the cake. Mary does say to put it over the sides too, but I decided against this as the sides of the cake with the mousse looked so pretty. Instead of covering the cake with the caraque, I grated the chocolate onto the top of the cake. It didn’t look too bad.
It wasn’t until a lot later in the evening and after quite a lot of alcohol that the cake was eaten. The feedback was that it was lovely. The two halves of the cake were obviously very different as a couple of people said to me that I must had put a lot of work into making two different types of cake and a mousse. I did say to them it was only one cake and the fact that the bottom for some reason appeared to be a lot denser. They said it was a lovely contrast – it may have been the alcohol talking though!
They all enjoyed it, so it must have been good. If I make it again, it will definitely be on a cooler day – perhaps in winter!
27th July 2012