The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - FOOD & DRINK -

200g (7oz) un­salted but­ter, soft­ened, plus ex­tra for greas­ing 125g (4½oz) self-rais­ing flour 5tbsp cocoa pow­der 2tsp bak­ing pow­der 5 large free-range eggs, sep­a­rated 150g (5½oz) caster sugar 2tbsp milk 100g (3½oz) 70% cocoa choco­late, melted,plus 50-100g (1¾-3½oz), to serve

For the boozy cher­ries

250g (9oz) pit­ted fresh cher­ries, or cher­ries from a jar (drained weight) 50ml (2fl oz) kirsch or brandy 3tbsp caster sugar Grated zest of 1 or­ange (op­tional)

For the Chan­tilly cream

500ml (18fl oz) dou­ble cream 50g (1¾oz) caster sugar ½ a vanilla pod, split length­ways and seeds scraped Pre­heat the oven to 150°C/gas 2. Grease and line a round cake tin (roughly 20cm). Sift the flour, cocoa pow­der and bak­ing pow­der to­gether; set aside. In a large, very clean bowl, whisk the egg whites to firm peaks us­ing an elec­tric beater. In an­other bowl, cream the but­ter and sugar un­til pale and fluffy. Beat in the yolks one at a time, then stir in the milk, then the melted choco­late. Fold the flour into the choco­late mix­ture, then stir in 1 big spoon­ful of egg white to loosen. Fold the rest of the egg white through the choco­late mix un­til just in­cor­po­rated.

Pour into the cake tin and bake 50-60 min­utes, un­til a skewer in­serted into the mid­dle emerges clean. Cool for 5 min­utes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool fully.

To make the boozy cher­ries, set aside a few cher­ries for gar­nish, then put the rest in a pan with the sugar, kirsch or brandy and or­ange zest, if us­ing. Bring to a gen­tle sim­mer and cook till the cher­ries are just soft but hold­ing their shape. Leave to cool.

For the Chan­tilly cream, whisk the cream, sugar and vanilla seeds into soft peaks. Us­ing a long, sharp knife, cut the cake hor­i­zon­tally into 3 rounds. Driz­zle each cut side with the syrup from the cher­ries to mois­ten. Place the bot­tom round on a cake stand, spread with chan­tilly cream and dot with half the cher­ries. Place the mid­dle layer of the cake on top; re­peat with more cream and cher­ries. Top with the last layer of cake, then spread cream on the top and the sides too, if you like. Top with the re­served cher­ries and dark choco­late shav­ings.

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