02 November 2016

Death By Chocolate

The blog has been quiet. A rest was needed. Unexpected news does that to you sometimes and puts things in perspective. But life moves along in the background, and cakes needed to be made, they just don't have the same good aul' gusto I am used to giving them.

The final of The Great British Bake Off closed last week, with a theme "fit for a queen". Having Halloween smack bang in the middle of my baking, the theme took a sinister turn. Not that I wish death to any queen, more, if this was a way to go.. I think it would be fitting of royalty!

An insanely dark chocolate cake, soft, and dense. Smothered in a rich chocolate frosting, bitter yet sweet, topped with a molten meringue crown. Crisp on the outside, with a soft chew to the inside. The cake is heavy, luxurious and sinfully delicious. I hope it fits the brief for Jenny and all the other bakers in the Bloggers Bake Off. My final bake for the last BBC broadcast of the Bake Off. 

Dark Chocolate Cake
makes two 8 inch rounds or three 6' rounds like I have made here...

100g of good dark chocolate (as dark as you can handle)
225g of caster sugar
75g coco powder
225g self raising flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 large eggs
50ml hot and strong coffee (Make one for yourself too!!)
125ml of vegetable oil
125ml of buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 180C/350F or Gas Mark 4. Grease and line two 8' pans with parchment, leave to one side.
Melt the chocolate in the hot coffee. When melted, add the vanilla.
Cream the sugar and the eggs until light an fluffy. They will increase in size.
Dry mix all your dry ingredients together. 
Slowly add them to the sugar/egg combination.
Add the buttermilk and mix.
Add the oil and mix.
Finally fold in the coffee/chocolate combination.

The mix is thick but runny so you could just pour it into the prepared pans until evenly.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until the tops have raised slightly, or a skewer inserted onto the middle comes out clear. Allow to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before removing from the pan onto a wire tray. Allow to cool fully before frosting.

Make the meringue.

Chocolate Meringue Crown

4 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cornflour
1/2 teaspoon vinegar
225g caster sugar
60g coco powder

Preheat the oven to 110 C, 230 F or 1/2 a gas mark.
Separate your egg whites from their yolks and put into a clean, dry bowl.
Whisk together until doubled in volume. Having the egg whites at room temperature will help with adding volume.
Add the sugar a tablespoon full at a time. Wait until the previous batch has been fully incorporated and has made the egg whites shiny and sticky before adding your next batch.
At the end, fold in your cornflour and flour, then fold through the coco powder. Spoon out onto a lined baking 8' baking pan.

Make a hole in the middle, using the back of your spoon.
Bake on the bottom rack for one hour. Switching off the oven after the hour, and allow the meringue to cool completely in the oven, with the door closed.

Once cooled, carefully remove it from the pan, peel off the parchment and leave on a wore rack until needed.

Make the frosting.

Chocolate Frosting

227g unsalted butter, room temperature
500g icing sugar
80ml whipping cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
60ml sour cream
265g premium dark chocolate, melted

Put all of the ingredients, except the melted chocolate, in a mixer and mix until smooth.

Add the melted chocolate and mix again until smooth. If you feel the frosting is too soft, pop it in the fridge until it thickens (about 15 minutes) but it should be ideal spreading consistency after the second mix! Leave to one side until you are ready to assemble the cake.

Putting it all together... 

Put a smidge of frosting on an 8’ cake board (or you cake plate).
Put the first layer top down on the cake plate, and spread some frosting evenly across the cake layer. Put the second cake layer on top of the first and repeat with another layer of frosting. Put the final cake layer top-down. Cover the cake with a thin layer of frosting to seal in the crumbs (crumb coat) and then pop the whole thing in the fridge to firm up, maybe 30 minutes.
Remove and add thicker layer of frosting on the top, sandwich the meringue crown on top and either serve, or return to the fridge.  

But most importantly.. my baby boy turns four today!! FOUR! I know parents always say where did the time go, but once, just once I would like it to slow down. My boy Champ. is the kindest and most friendliest little guy you will ever meet. He loves his sister, Momma and Dadda with Bella the dog thrown in for good measure. He doesn't eat or even like cake... or cream.. or frosting but loves cookies, macaron shells and helping me in the kitchen.

He is a Lego fanatic and has a jar he is filling with pennies and change so he can take us all to Lego Land! My boy never ceases to amaze me.. his interminable thirst for knowledge and exploration coupled with a highly interactive imagination will take him great places in his life. I am so excited to be part of this journey with him!

Happy 4th birthday my boy... We love you so much.


  1. Wow! I think that more than fits the brief - it looks utterly decadent. Happy birthday to your gorgeous wee man. Enjoy every minute because it truly does seem only yesterday I had boys that size. And now they are grown up and I can barely remember those days. Although they do still come home to eat cake!

  2. YUMMY!!!!!! I would have died and gone to cake heaven diving into this amazing and scrumptious cake. what a chocolate overload but totally justified! Lovely . happy birthday to your little man - i hope he has a great day.
    I am sos sorry you have had a bad time recently Hazel - I hope things are easing up for your now. Thank you also for joining in with my bake along - you make such amazing bakes and I am honoured that you bake along when you have been on the Irish GBBO! Good luck with the judging and fingers crossed we can bake along sometime very soon again xx

  3. Aww, chocolate, I love it. Happy birthday for your little boy xx

  4. I think your cake looks fabulous. Really tasty.If i wasnt so caked out at the moment I'd make it. So I'll pin for later instead.
    Happy birthday to your little boy. Mine is now 24 and oh boy I wonder where the years went. He's grown into a fine young man so thats all we can ask for but but your right it would be lovely for the years to slow down a little. Enjoy the journey I'm sure he will make you as proud as I am of mine.

  5. What an amazing cake Hazel - it looks absolutely divine. I'm definitely pinning - it looks sooo good. And happy birthday to your boy, hope he had a great day yesterday :-)
    Angela x

  6. Happy birthday to your little boy! What a gorgeous chocolate meringue cake, I would have loved a big slice!


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