i like to bake. cakes and pies and biscuits and bread. sometimes i make lemon curd and sticky jam and put it in pretty little jars. i sell it all at markets. and then i write about it here.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

a small slice will suffice

It's been a tiring few weeks since I last posted on here. Tiring for a number of reasons. I led my first ever Parents' Evenings at school which, whilst absolutely not as terrifying as I first thought, were nevertheless extremely time consuming. 11 hour school days leave no time for blogging. Or baking. Parents' Evenings over, I managed to catch myself a cold which developed into something not dissimilar to tonsillitis. Two days of Lemsips, duvets and recuperating followed by a week of antibiotics brings me to the present. A new week dawns and I'm feeling hopeful that tomorrow will bring a slightly more relaxed state of affairs.

But enough of that. Back to the important business of baking. Between conversing with parents and nursing a  sore throat I managed to catch up with a friend over coffee at one of my favourite Gloucester Road cafes, Tart. The windows are adorned with cake stands heavily laden with luscious cakes and on this day one cake in particular caught my eye. A dark, dense chocolate creation filled to bursting with cream and covered in a glossy sheen of chocolate ganache. I made a mental note and challenged myself to have produced a cake as good-looking as this by the end of the week. And here is the result: a recipe that comes courtesy of Gordon Ramsey. Containing 5 eggs and almost a whole packet of butter, it goes without saying there is little chance of this cake being too dry. However it is not too dense either. Sure, it's one of the richest cakes I've tasted for a long time but you just have to take a look at the list of calorific ingredients to realise that. The saving grace was the hint of lemon in the cream filling which gives it the subtle lift that it needs. I took one along to today's Start the Bus market and it was a big hit. Just don't eat it all at once.
chocolate cake topped with chocolate ganache
for the cake
120g dark chocolate
5 eggs, separated
200g butter 
220g caster sugar
90g plain flour 
for the filling
284g pot double cream
200g half-fat creme fraiche
1 lemon, grated zest only
for the ganache
142ml double cream
150g dark chocolate 
1.Grease and line a 24cm cake tin. Heat oven to 160C. Melt 120g chocolate in a bowl. Cool for 5 mins, then beat in egg yolks. In a bowl, beat the butter and 100g sugar until soft and creamy. Mix in the melted chocolate and yolks.
2.Whisk the egg whites to firm peaks then beat in remaining 120g sugar in three batches and continue whisking until stiff. Beat a third of the meringue into the chocolate mix. Then, gently fold in alternate spoonfuls of the flour and remaining meringue.
3.Spoon into the tin, level and bake 40-45 mins until the top forms a light crust. Test the centre with a metal skewer, it should come out clean. Remove, cool 10 mins, before turning out of the tin. When cooled, cut in half carefully with a large knife.
4.To make the filling, beat the double cream until thickened, but not stiff. Then mix in the crème fraîche and the lemon zest.
5.Spread one half of the cake with all the zesty cream and sandwich together with the other half. 
6.To make the ganache icing break up the chocolate into a pan and add the double cream. Melt over the lowest heat and stir until smooth, then cool until the consistency of thick pouring cream. Pour over the cake.
7.Spread the icing evenly on the top and around the sides using the back of a spoon or a palette knife.