Saturday, 25 June 2011

Cocoa or Cacao

I am also trying out another cake this weekend – got a friend’s birthday and an engagement party to go to and I’ve offered to make a cake for her. I don’t know why I do this to myself – I would love a nice and relaxing weekend, but I keep getting myself involved in these different “projects”.
I’ve been testing out “Cake” section in “The Hummingbird Bakery” book, and this cake has been tempting me for a while.

Brooklyn Blackout Cake
Adapted from “The Hummingbird Bakery”

Cake
100 g unsalted butter, softened
220 g sugar
2 eggs
½ tsp vanilla extract
20 g cocoa powder (Green and Black)
25 g Venezuelan black 100% pure cacao grated (Willie’s Supreme Cacao)
2 tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt
170 g flour
160 g milk

Chocolate custard
290 g sugar
1 Tbsp honey
85 g Venezuelan black 100% pure cacao grated (Willie’s Supreme Cacao)
80 g cornflour
55 g unsalted butter, softened
½ tsp vanilla extract
Chocolate to decorate

Don’t be put off by the fancy cacao – the only reason I am using it, its cause I ran out of cocoa powder and my little Tesco downstairs didn’t stock it. Mr Ranty bough a block of solid cacao a while ago – he loves buying weird ingredients that he is not quite sure what to do with (don’t get me started on a pack of lily bulbs from an Asian supermarket we’ve had going off in the fridge). So, just use cocoa powder instead.

Cream butter and sugar together on high speed (either in a mixer or with a hand mixer) until light and fluffy, add eggs – one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
Add vanilla, cocoa powder, cacao, baking powder and salt and mix (slow speed now) until all the ingredients mixed together.
Continue mixing on low speed and gradually add flour and milk to the creamy mixture, until you get one even chocolate batter.

I only have one round baking tin, so I normally don’t bother making more than two tiers, but this time I decided to follow the instructions and actually make three cake layers, as the recipe states. There wasn’t a huge amount of batter (725 g to be precise), so to make sure that my layers were even, I’ve measured out each layer before baking it (240 g each). Bake each layer for 20 minutes at 200C in a cake well buttered cake tin.
The layers didn’t really puff up much, and shrunk from the sides of the tin. I am used to dealing with fluffy spongy cakes, so this is going to be interesting.
Cool cake layers until completely cold and get on with preparing custard.

This is an egg-free custard, I am not big fan of custard to be honest, and if I do need to make it, I either ask Mr Ranty to prepare it for me or just buy it ready made.
Place sugar, honey, cacao and 400 g water in a medium pot and bring it to the boil over medium heat stirring constantly. In a small bowl, combine cornflour with 100 g of water, make sure that there are no lumps in the mixture.
Pour the cornflour mixture into the chocolate mixture, in one continuous stream, whisking the chocolate mixture constantly, aiming for smooth, lump-free chocolate sauce. Bring the mixture back to the boil, whisking non-stop and boil for a few minutes until you get quite thick custard. Remove custard from the heat and add butter, mix well until all butter is incorporated.
Pour the custard into a clean bowl, cover the surface with clingfilm (to stop custard forming a crust on the surface) and leave to cool and set. I just chucked my bowl outside on the balcony, and it took less than an hour for it to set completely.

Now arrange the cake – place one layer of cake on a plate, cover it with a quarter of custard, spread right up to the edges, repeat with the other two layers. Use last quarter of the custard to cover sides of cake – by now all of the cake should be covered in chocolate goodness. If you want to fancy it up a bit, grate some milk or dark chocolate all over the top and the sides of the cake.
Chill the cake overnight.

I am taking the cake to a friend’s party later this afternoon and will let you know whether its any good. I am a little bit worried about the custard, I would have expected it to be quite rich and chocolaty, but the flavour doesn’t seem to be quite right.
I’ve figured no one is gonna complain about a free cake, and especially if it’s a free chocolate cake. Fingers crossed …

Well, I didn't get a chance to try the cake, I left the party before cake slicing time. Mr Ranty did stck around for a bit longer and took a picture of what it was like inside, according to the other guests it was very tasty and very moist.
I am not that big on chocolate to be honest, so I don't mind missing out on it, as least I got a chance to make it.

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