FOOD: Choco­late cake.

The Saturday Paper - - Contents - An­nie Smithers

Serves 8 Cake

– 2 cups all-pur­pose flour

– ¾ cup unsweet­ened

co­coa pow­der

– 1 tsp bak­ing pow­der

– 2 tsp bak­ing soda

– 1 tsp salt

– ½ cup + 2 tbsp grape­seed oil

– 1 cup cas­tor sugar

– 1 cup brown sugar

– 3 large eggs

– 2 tsp vanilla ex­tract

– 1 cup milk, 1 tsp lemon

juice added

– 1 cup hot wa­ter Pre­heat oven to 180ºC. Grease and flour three 20-cen­time­tre cake pans and set aside. Sift to­gether the flour, co­coa pow­der, bak­ing pow­der, bak­ing soda and salt and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fit­ted with a pad­dle at­tach­ment, beat to­gether the oil and sug­ars on medium speed for two min­utes. With the mixer still on, add the eggs and vanilla. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.

Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mix­ture in three batches, al­ter­nat­ing with the milk and lemon juice, be­gin­ning and end­ing with flour mix­ture. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl. With the mixer on low, stream in the hot wa­ter. Mix on medium-low for no more than 30 sec­onds, or un­til com­bined. The bat­ter will be very thin.

Evenly di­vide the bat­ter among the pre­pared pans. Bake for 23 to 25 min­utes, or un­til a tooth­pick in­serted into the cen­tre of the cakes comes out clean. Let them cool on a wire rack for 10 to 15 min­utes be­fore re­mov­ing them from their pans. Once com­pletely cool, care­fully slice each cake in half hor­i­zon­tally with a long, ser­rated knife.

Swiss meringue but­ter­cream

– 120ml egg whites

– 200g cas­tor sugar

– 340g un­salted but­ter, at room tem­per­a­ture, cubed – 1½ tea­spoons pure vanilla ex­tract

– pink food colour­ing

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the egg whites and gran­u­lated sugar. Whisk them to­gether briefly by hand, just un­til they are com­bined, so that the egg whites won’t be­gin cook­ing by them­selves.

Cre­ate a dou­ble-boiler by fill­ing a saucepan with a few cen­time­tres of wa­ter and bring to a sim­mer. Place the mixer bowl with the egg­white mix­ture on top. The wa­ter should be kept at a sim­mer and should not touch the bot­tom of the bowl. The dou­ble-boiler acts as in­di­rect heat for the egg-white mix­ture.

Oc­ca­sion­ally stir­ring, al­low the egg-white mix­ture to heat un­til it reaches 70ºC on a candy ther­mome­ter. The mix­ture should be very hot to the touch and the sugar should have dis­solved. Care­fully re­turn the bowl of hot egg-white mix­ture to the stand mixer. Fit­ted with a whisk at­tach­ment, beat the mix­ture on high speed for about eight min­utes. When done, the meringue should hold shiny, medium-stiff peaks and be cooled to room tem­per­a­ture. Stop the mixer and swap out the whisk for a pad­dle at­tach­ment. With the mixer on low, be­gin adding the but­ter a cou­ple of ta­ble­spoons at a time and mix it in. The but­ter must be at room tem­per­a­ture in or­der to in­cor­po­rate prop­erly with the meringue. Once the but­ter has been mixed in, add the vanilla and a few drops of pink food colour­ing. Turn the mixer up to medium speed and mix un­til silky smooth.

Rasp­berry jelly

– 2 gela­tine leaves – 70g cas­tor sugar – 250g rasp­ber­ries – juice of 1 lemon Put the gela­tine leaves in a small bowl of cold wa­ter, one at a time so they don’t stick to­gether. Leave to soak while you cook the rasp­ber­ries.

Pour 150ml wa­ter into a large saucepan. Add the cas­tor sugar and heat gently over a medium heat, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally un­til the sugar has dis­solved. Then add the rasp­ber­ries. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down so the mix­ture is barely sim­mer­ing and cook for five min­utes un­til the rasp­ber­ries break down. Stir well, but don’t mash them too much – the rasp­ber­ries will break down in the heat.

Care­fully pour the rasp­berry mix­ture through a sieve set over a large heat­proof mea­sur­ing jug. Stir in the lemon juice, then ei­ther top up with cold wa­ter or pour some away to en­sure you have ex­actly 300 millil­itres in to­tal of liq­uid. Drain the wa­ter from the gela­tine leaves and squeeze out any ex­cess be­fore adding to the rasp­berry mix. Stir well un­til the gela­tine has com­pletely dis­solved, then set aside.

Cake as­sem­bly

Place a layer of cake on a cake board or serv­ing dish. Spread with about ¼ cup of rasp­berry jam. This layer does not need to be thick, but there should be jam across the whole layer. Use more if needed. Top with the next layer of cake and re­peat un­til all lay­ers are stacked. Ice the cake with the pink but­ter­cream. When the rasp­berry jelly is nearly set, pour over the cake.

Serve with fresh rasp­ber­ries.

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