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

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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.

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