Mary Berry’s mini coffee and walnut cakes
Make your own mouthwatering masterpiece with our second extract from the new Great British Bake Off book
CLASSIC CHOCOLATE FUDGE SANDWICH CAKE Makes one large cake
For the sponge mixture 200g (7oz) dark chocolate (about 70% cocoa solids), roughly chopped 200g (7oz) unsalted butter, diced 4 medium free-range eggs, at room temperature 1tsp vanilla extract 325g (11½oz) caster sugar 175g (6oz) self-raising flour ½tsp baking powder 45g (1½oz) cocoa powder Salt For the chocolate fudge filling and icing 300g (10½oz) icing sugar 150g (5½oz) dark chocolate (about 70% cocoa solids), chopped 150g (5½oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature, diced ½tsp vanilla extract Or, you can use vanilla buttercream filling and icing instead 550g (1lb 4oz) icing sugar 250g (9oz) unsalted butter, softened 1tsp vanilla extract 4tbsp milk
To decorate 150g dark chocolate cocoform or modelling chocolate (see Quick Bite tip, below) Edible gold lustre or shimmer spray Heat your oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4 and grease 2 x 20cm (8in) round deep sandwich tins, then line the bases with baking paper. Put the chopped chocolate and butter into a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of hot but not boiling water (don’t let the base of the bowl touch the water). Leave to melt gently, stirring now and then. Remove the bowl from the pan and leave to cool. Put the eggs and vanilla into a mixing bowl (or the bowl of a free-standing electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment). Whisk until frothy. Add the sugar and whisk until the mixture is very thick and mousse-like and will make a distinct ribbon-like trail when the whisk is lifted out.
Turn down the speed of the whisk to its lowest setting and pour in the cooled melted chocolate, whisking all the while. Once all the chocolate has been incorporated, scrape down the sides of the bowl. Sift the flour, baking powder, cocoa and a few good pinches of salt into the bowl and fold in with a metal spoon or plastic spatula. The mixture will be heavy – take your time so there are no streaks.
Divide the mixture equally between the prepared tins and spread evenly. Bake in the heated oven for 30-35 minutes until the sponges are just firm to the touch and have started to shrink away from the side of the tin; a cocktail stick inserted into the centre of the sponge should come out clean. Run a round-bladed knife around the inside of each tin to loosen the sponge, then carefully turn it out onto a wire rack. Leave until completely cold.
Meanwhile, make the filling and icing. For the chocolate fudge mixture, sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Put the chopped chocolate into a heatproof mixing bowl set over a pan of hot water and melt gently. Remove the bowl from the pan and leave to cool until barely warm before adding the butter and a few tablespoons of the icing sugar. Beat with a wooden spoon or an electric mixer on low. Beat in the remaining icing sugar, a few tablespoons at a time, to make a spreadable icing. Beat in the vanilla.
If you’re making the vanilla buttercream instead, sift the icing sugar into a large bowl. Add the soft butter, vanilla and milk and beat thoroughly using a wooden spoon or electric mixer (on lowest speed) until light and creamy.
When ready to assemble the cake, cut each sponge into 2 equal layers. Use half of the filling/icing to sandwich the 4 layers together. Coat the top and sides of the cake with a thin layer of icing (use jut under half the remaining mixture) – this will ensure the final cake isn’t flecked with crumbs. Chill for 10 minutes until firm.
Cover the whole cake with the rest of the icing. Use a large palette knife or cake scraper to smooth and neaten the icing. Leave in a cool spot – not the fridge – to firm up. The cake can now be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
To make the decoration, take about a quarter of the chocolate cocoform or modelling chocolate and gently knead it in your hand just until it feels supple, like playdough. Place it between 2 large sheets of clingfilm and roll out very thinly to a large oblong at least 20cm (8in) long and no more than 1.5mm (1/ 16in) thick. Peel off the top sheet of clingfilm, then cut the chocolate into ribbons about 3.5cm (1½in) wide and 20cm (8in) long. Gently pleat or concertina the strips, pinching the pleats together along one long edge, a bit like making a paper fan. Continue making ruffles like this until you have used all the cocoform.
Carefully arrange the ruffled strips on the worktop into a pompom or rosette shape, starting with a ring of ruffles about 15cm across and then gradually building up the layers, working in towards the centre. Once you have a shape you like, dismantle it and re-build it on the cake. For a final touch brush the edges lightly with gold lustre or spray with shimmer. Store decorated cake in an airtight container in a cool spot (not the fridge) and eat within 3 days.