At least a chocolate cake with kids wouldn’t be as complicated as custard creams.
I couldn’t risk another disaster for Jon’s birthday (remember the ill-fated savarin), and if I was going to have “help”, I’d have to play it safe. I turned to Mary Berry and a marbled chocolate ring cake from the Baking Bible.
First, I made sure that my ring cake tin was the right size (3 pints) and, rather than lining it with strips of baking parchment as per the recipe, I gave it a good coating of Cake-Release. I always use this with ring and sphere cakes and it hasn’t yet let me down. Not today Cake-Release. Not today.
Mary Berry makes this cake using her usual all-in-one method i.e. she uses a combination of self-raising flour and baking powder and mixes everything together at the same time. I mixed softened butter (softened in the microwave at 360W for 20 seconds from room temperature), caster sugar, eggs, self-raising flour and baking powder in the KitchenAid. I had some help with the eggs and bowl scraping. Matthew’s egg technique is improving by the day. Next time it’ll be one-handed (he’s been watching Paul Hollywood). I can’t wait!
We swirled the mixture around the tin with a knife and put it into the oven at 160° fan. It was cooked in the 40 minutes stipulated by the recipe. I let the cake cool in the tin for a couple of minutes, loosened the edges with a palette knife, held my breath, turned the tin over and… thanked God for Cake Release.
The finished cake is covered with dark chocolate and then drizzled with milk chocolate. I was a bit confused about the chocolate, since the recipe says “plain chocolate (39% cocoa solids).” Is this figure for cocoa solids a minimum, a maximum, or an optimum? All of the posh dark chocolate has a much higher percentage. The nearest I could get to 39% was Tesco’s own brand of plain cooking chocolate at 54%. I’m not sure whether Mary Berry would be happy with Tesco’s own. I think she has more of a Green & Blacks air about her.
To make the icing you’re supposed to melt the dark chocolate with water and butter over a pan of simmering water. I forgot the butter. I was distracted by a high-speed chase through the kitchen. Superman and Batman were hot on the trail of Elsa who, apparently, needed rescuing from a lion. I didn’t realise the butter was missing until I’d covered half the cake.
I let the icing set for about an hour, and then drizzled melted milk chocolate – Tesco’s own again I’m afraid – over the top. The recipe does suggest using a piping bag for this bit, but I used a teaspoon, they’re a lot less fiddly than piping bags.
Perhaps my cake doesn’t quite have the finesse of the cake in the Baking Bible picture, but I was pretty pleased with how it turned out.
It was a good chocolate cake. It looked and tasted good, although, perhaps there could have been more of the marble effect inside (I think we may have been a touch over-enthusiastic with the mixing). I don’t think anyone noticed that the chocolate wasn’t of the highest quality, or that the icing lost its shine pretty quickly. Nobody’s mentioned anything anyway.