SPRING­TIME BAKES

In­dulge in a se­lec­tion of sweet and savoury del­i­ca­cies from food writer Rachel Allen

Country Living (UK) - - Contents -

Prepa­ra­tion 50 min­utes Cook­ing 25 min­utes Serves 10-12 This cake doesn’t need too much of an in­tro­duc­tion as its name says it all – it’s a guar­an­teed crowd-pleaser.

350g but­ter, soft­ened, plus ex­tra for greas­ing 350g caster sugar

6 medium eggs

350g plain flour, plus ex­tra for dust­ing

2 tsp bak­ing pow­der

40g co­coa pow­der

40g drink­ing choco­late

200g nat­u­ral yo­gurt 110g dark choco­late (55–62% co­coa solids), roughly chopped gold leaf or ic­ing sugar, to dec­o­rate

FOR THE WHITE CHOCO­LATE BUTTERCREAM FILL­ING

225g but­ter, soft­ened

450g ic­ing sugar

110g white choco­late (melted and cooled) FOR THE CHOCO­LATE GLACÉ IC­ING

110g ic­ing sugar

50g co­coa pow­der

15g but­ter

½ tsp vanilla ex­tract

1 Heat the oven to 180ºc (160ºc fan oven) gas mark 4. Grease four 18cm sand­wich tins and dust lightly with flour. Put the but­ter and sugar in a large bowl and beat with elec­tric beat­ers un­til light and fluffy. 2 Add the eggs, one at a time, adding 1 tbsp flour each time and beat­ing well af­ter each ad­di­tion. Sift the re­main­ing flour, bak­ing pow­der, co­coa and drink­ing choco­late to­gether in a bowl. Grad­u­ally fold into the egg mix­ture to com­bine. Fold in the yo­gurt. Di­vide be­tween the pre­pared tins. Bake for 20-25 min­utes un­til firm to the touch. Leave to cool in the tins on a wire rack for 5 min­utes, then turn out and leave on the rack to cool com­pletely. 3 Mean­while, make choco­late curls for the top­ping. Melt the dark choco­late in a heat­proof bowl set over a pan of gen­tly sim­mer­ing wa­ter. Spread thinly over the back of a bak­ing sheet and leave it to cool in the

fridge un­til firm but not hard. Hold a long, sharp knife at the top of the bak­ing sheet and tilt it at an an­gle to­wards you with one hand on the han­dle and the other at the top of the blade. Pull the knife to­wards you, scrap­ing the choco­late as you go. Curls should start to peel up from the sheet. If it crum­bles, the choco­late is too cold, and if it goes gooey, it’s too warm. Keep scrap­ing down, re­turn­ing the sheet to the fridge for a few min­utes if it gets too warm, un­til you have shaved all the choco­late and col­lected enough curls for the top of the cake. Leave some­where cool un­til needed. 4 To make the buttercream, put the but­ter and ic­ing in a large bowl and beat with elec­tric beat­ers un­til light and fluffy. Add 2 tbsp hot wa­ter and fold in the cooled melted white choco­late. 5 To make the ic­ing, sift the ic­ing sugar and co­coa pow­der into a bowl. Heat the but­ter, vanilla ex­tract and 3 tbsp wa­ter in a pan over a medium heat un­til just at boil­ing point. Pour into the ic­ing sugar and co­coa, then beat well us­ing a wooden spoon. The ic­ing should be the con­sis­tency of dou­ble cream; if too thick, add a lit­tle warm wa­ter, then cool be­fore us­ing. 6 Spread three cakes with half the white choco­late fill­ing and then stack them to­gether on an ic­ing turntable. Put the re­main­ing cake on top and care­fully spread the top and sides with the re­main­ing buttercream. Chill for at least 1 hour un­til firm. 7 Gen­tly pour the choco­late glacé ic­ing over the top of the cake, al­low­ing it to driz­zle slightly and un­evenly down the sides. Leave to set be­fore pil­ing the choco­late curls on top. Dec­o­rate with a lit­tle gold leaf or dust with ic­ing sugar.

Triple choco­late cel­e­bra­tion cake See overleaf for recipe

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