As a little sideline enterprise, I find myself baking bespoke cakes for special occasions, which has only ensued from word of mouth through my family and work friends. Last week I was asked to create an indulgent chocolate cake for a lady’s retirement in my office. Excited about the prospect ahead, I set to work researching and preparing for the chocolatey task before me. I wanted to photograph the creation of this cake step by step, but thought it was more sensible to concentrate of my flour sifting rather than my camera focus. However I will detail the simple steps taken if you wished to recreate this gigantic ganache-covered cake yourself, which I think is quite reminiscent of the cake that Bruce Bogtrotter triumphantly devoured in Matilda!
The cake is two tiered, so you will need to repeat this recipe twice so you are left with two round cakes of the same sized, so you can sandwich them one on top of the other.
For the sponge;
10oz butter, 10oz caster sugar
5 free range eggs, 10oz self raising flour
Large tablespoon of cocoa powder
Whizz together the butter and sugar until you have a light, fluffy creamed consistency. Add in the eggs, flour and cocoa and mix together again until all the ingredients are combined. Do not over-whisk the mixture otherwise it won’t rise as well. Spoon into a greased baking tin and pop in the over at 180c for 40+ minutes. Every oven is different and all cakes will cook at varying rates so just keep an eye on it and skewer the middle to check all the mixture is cooked. When the skewer emerges clean, you know the cake is done! (repeat again to get your second cake)
Let the cakes cool completely before you add the ganache filling.
Ganache can instil mild panic amongst bakers, but it really isn’t anything to be afraid of. Ganache is simply the combination of good quality chocolate and double cream, which creates a decadent, glossy and pliable coating for cakes. Ganache is the Rolls Royce of cake coverings and is far superior, and yummier, than buttercream.
To make the ganache;
350g good quality dark chocolate, 350ml double (pouring) cream
Break up the chocolate into a bowl and add in the cream. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and stir the chocolate and cream together until all the chocolate is melted and you have a sleek, rich mixture. It is so important you don’t let the cream boil otherwise the ganache will split and be ruined. To begin with the ganache will be very loose and runny but as it cools, it changes state and will become firmer and then eventually will set completely. You can pop the ganache in the fridge or just leave it out to cool, until it is a stable consistency. You want it loose enough to roll off a spoon but firm enough to hold its shape otherwise it will just drip off the cake.
Layer the ganache all over one of the cakes and then gently place the second cake on top, pushing down firmly so they are securely sandwiched together. Don’t worry if any ganache comes out the sides as you will be covering the whole cake with the ganache as well. With the remaining ganache, simply spoon it all over the top of your cake and with a palette knife, work it towards the edges. It will then roll down the sides of your cake and you can smooth it around with the palette knife. Continue to work the ganache over and around the cake until it is completely covered and you are left with a smooth, even finish.
For the decorations;
The next stage calls upon your artistic flair and there is no limit to what you could do. I used rolled icing and letter cutters to write the message on top and then prettified the edges on my cake my adding white buttons. You could make chocolate curls, add a splash of colour with smarties or create a fancy finish with some raspberries and berries.
The cake was presented to Jo on Friday and was so thrilled that she liked it and it went down a treat in my office. I luckily managed to scavenge myself a small slither before it was all scoffed and it was rather tasty…if I do say so myself!