Not the most cheerful of recipe titles. I wondered if I should write my Will before trying a slice of this seriously rich chocolate cake. Scanning through the list of ingredients, it didn't appear to be life threatening. Alas, my mind was changed when I reached the chocolate icing section. This contains a pound of plain chocolate and nearly a whole packet of butter, GOOD GRIEF! It seemed that if I wished to indulge in a slice I may have to suffer some consequences, such as weight gain and quite possibly cardiac arrest!
I awoke to yet another wet and miserable day. We're certainly getting our April showers this year! Due to the dire weather there would be no trip to the swings with my little boy. Instead, we visited our neighbour and Isaac enjoyed playing with his little friend Molly. We gave the children fruit whilst we ate chocolate cake!! I very much doubt if it was a good idea for me to eat chocolate cake twice in one day. However, I am weak willed and couldn't say no! We ended up staying a little longer than intended as I had forgotten my door key and Neil was out shopping – whoops. Neil starts a new office job on Monday, so I'll have to get used to locking the front door when I go out!
I had first to hunt for my deep sandwich tins. This had me searching in almost every room, including our bedroom. I eventually found them where I had started, buried in the murky depths of an overflowing kitchen drawer. Trying to avoid wasting any more time, I quickly smeared butter around the base and sides of the tins and lazily threw in pre-cut greaseproof paper. My mother-in-law had kindly given this to me; she knows how I hate lining tins!
I weighed plain flour and a few tablespoonfuls of cocoa powder into a bowl along with a little bicarbonate of soda and baking powder. I was surprised by the seemingly small amount of cocoa powder; the cake might not be as chocolaty as I had previously thought. I found another bowl and sifted in the dry ingredients. Things were sweetened up considerably when I poured in the caster sugar. I mixed this in, and then made a well in the centre to allow room for the wet ingredients. First of all a few tablespoonfuls of golden syrup tumbled into the bowl, swiftly followed by the beaten eggs. I needed my measuring jug for the next part; I had a lot of sunflower oil to measure. I was intrigued that Mary should use oil instead of butter. I'm more used to using it in carrot cakes! I required the same quantity of milk. The liquid had already flooded over the sides of the deep well. After the milk was added the dry ingredients almost completely vanished from view! As the mixture was so liquid there was no need for an electric whisk, I could easily beat it with a wooden spoon. I was so worried about the consistency; it really was seriously runny. I was relieved to read that the mixture should be poured into the awaiting tins. It was too drippy to spoon in!
The cakes needed to cook in the oven for around thirty-five minutes. When I checked on mine after thirty I could see that they were still a long way from being cooked through. They ended up requiring almost fifty minutes. After a few minutes cooling in the tins, I turned them out onto a wire rack to cool completely. I couldn't help noticing a strange smell. I called Neil over to have a sniff. He said they smelt vaguely of scampi. This wasn't very reassuring! I began to wonder if the oil I'd used had been open for too long. Maybe I should have bought a new bottle! Thankfully, as a saving grace, the sponges looked light and chocolaty.
Now it was time to make the heart-stoppingly rich icing. It really was very straightforward. I broke up many packets worth of value plain chocolate. Neil refused to pay top whack for so much chocolate! 1 lb of the finest quality would have cost a fortune and, as the cake wasn't for a special occasion, it didn't seem worth the expense. I melted the cheap but cheerful chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Not unsurprisingly it took an eternity to melt such a large amount. Finally I could take it from the heat and add the butter. I cut it into cubes to help it on its way. I was meant to leave it to melt into the chocolate, but I couldn't resist offering it a few pokes!
Once my silky smooth icing was ready, I gingerly sliced each sponge in half horizontally so that I was left with four layers. Some were a little uneven, so I was forced to level them off and then scoff the cast offs. This gave me a chance to taste the sponge on its own, without the addition of the icing. I could taste the chocolate but only vaguely. I was very glad to discover that it didn't taste of scampi, but it did have a slight chemically taste! I wasn't sure if this was due to the sunflower oil or perhaps the bicarbonate of soda. I have to say that I was more than happy with the texture of this cake. It was so light it almost melted in my mouth!
I sandwiched the four layers of cake together with a good helping of chocolate icing, then placed the slightly leaning stack of cake on a wire rack which was balanced on top of a baking tray. This would catch the drips of runny icing. I'm pleased to say that it did its job and only a few drips managed to find their way onto the kitchen worktop! It wasn't easy smoothing the icing over the sides of the cake; I just couldn't make it look tidy and smooth. I left the icing to set, which didn't take long, and then it was time for yet more chocolate. I grated some more plain over the top but, as it was the same colour as the cake, it didn't make much of an impact. Fortunately the grated white chocolate made things a bit more exciting.
It took some time to cut a slice of cake as it was so deep and I just had to hope for the best when transferring it onto a plate. I grabbed a fork and gathered up a good helping to sample. The richness of the chocolate icing certainly made up for the weak flavour in the cake. It really was very chocolaty indeed. It also did an excellent job of hiding the slightly strange flavour within the sponge – I could no longer taste it! As with most chocolate cakes the flavours improved the following day, so it really is worth making it a day ahead for a special occasion.
I was expecting to absolutely love this cake and terrified that I wouldn't be able to resist it. Although chocolate is probably my most favourite flavour of cake, this was just a bit too much for me. There is rich and there is RICH! It is a great cake for the serious chocoholics amongst us. However, it is not for the faint hearted!
|Apologies for the rubbish photo. It was such a dark day :-(|