06 June 2012

Torture cake

There are two facts that explain the title of this post:
one: Yesterday was Tony's birthday.
two: I'm twelve days into a month of no refined sugar (mostly because I was trying to legitimize eating JUST ONE cookie every day. This addict just came out of denial. A month off does the trick for me every time, putting me back into a state of moderation.)

Despite my current de-sugared state, I baked him three layers of the meanest, formidably chocolaty cake I could imagine, sandwiched between dark chocolate ganache and dusted with dark chocolate shavings. I know, it's as ridiculous as a bacon sandwich with bacon bread served on a bacon plate and eaten with bacon cutlery.

I toyed with the idea of a bite-sized version like I did for him after Julian's birthday, but a man who changes diapers and spoils me upside down deserves nothing less than majesty.

As I mixed, whipped, melted, and poured, without licking the spoon or checking for sweetness or consistency, I imagined watching him take bite after agonizing bite. That's how is was supposed to go. Then I realized that making a proper cake and not eating it is like telling the doctor you don't want to see the baby after giving birth. No, I'm OFF babies for a month. I'll pass.

Okay, so not exactly, but it was almost that bad. So I cut two slices and didn't look back. I make no political statement or judgement of rightness or wrongness here (as this is a FOOD post and nothing more), but there's a reason governments use torture. It's effective.

This cake is only for the truest of chocolate lovers; it is dense, moist, not too sweet, and wicked to the core.  So, here I am, left with ten slices of pure sin, and I can't even have a lick of the frosting. Any takers on cake and coffee at my place this afternoon? I can't get back to my suikervrije dagen if this monstrosity remains in my refrigerator.

Ultimate Chocolate Cake
from BBC Good Food; I followed the recipe exactly, except used a larger springform pan and, thus, only made two layers instead of three.
For the cake
  • 200g good quality dark chocolate 
  • 200g butter
  • 1 tbsp instant coffee granules
  • 85g self-raising flour
  • 85g plain flour
  • 1⁄4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 200g light muscovado sugar
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 75ml buttermilk (5 tbsp)
For the ganache
  • grated chocolate, to decorate
  • 200g good quality dark chocolate, as above
  • 284ml carton double cream (pouring type)
  • 2 tbsp golden caster sugar
  1. Butter a 20cm round cake tin (7.5cm deep) and line the base. Preheat the oven to fan 140C/conventional 160C/ gas 3. Break 200g good quality dark chocolate in pieces into a medium, heavy-based pan. Cut 200g butter into pieces and tip in with the chocolate, then mix 1 tbsp instant coffee granules into 125ml cold water and pour into the pan. Warm through over a low heat just until everything is melted - don't overheat. Or melt in the microwave on Medium for about 5 minutes, stirring half way through.
  2. While the chocolate is melting, mix 85g self-raising flour, 85g plain flour, ¼ bicarbonate of soda, 200g light muscovado sugar, 200g golden caster sugar and 25g cocoa powder in a big bowl, mixing with your hands to get rid of any lumps. Beat 3 medium eggsin a bowl and stir in 75ml (5 tbsp) buttermilk.
  3. Now pour the melted chocolate mixture and the egg mixture into the flour mixture, stirring just until everything is well blended and you have a smooth, quite runny consistency. Pour this into the tin and bake for 1 hour 25- 1 hour 30 minutes - if you push a skewer in the centre it should come out clean and the top should feel firm (don't worry if it cracks a bit). Leave to cool in the tin (don't worry if it dips slightly), then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. When the cake is cold, cut it horizontally into three. Make the ganache: chop 200g good quality dark chocolate into small pieces and tip into a bowl. Pour a 284ml carton of double cream into a pan, add 2 tbsp golden caster sugar, and heat until it is about to boil. Take off the heat and pour it over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.
  5. Sandwich the layers together with just a little of the ganache. Pour the rest over the cake letting it fall down the sides and smoothing to cover with a palette knife. Decorate with grated chocolate or a pile of chocolate curls. The cake keeps moist and gooey for 3-4 days.