Aimi’s Chocolate birthday cake!

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For the cakes:

 525gr plain chocolate (39 per cent cocoa solids), broken into pieces

10 large eggs, separated

2 large eggs, whole

425gr caster sugar

275gr ground almonds

2 ½ teaspoons freshly made black coffee

75gr apricot jam

Raspberry Coulis:

750gr raspberries

220gr icing sugar

Double cream

Pre-heat the oven to 190 ° C/ Fan 170 ° C. Lightly grease a 15 cm (6 in) and a 20 cm (9 in) deep topsy turvy cake tins then line the base and sides of each tin with baking parchment.

Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl in the microwave at low heat stirring occasionally and then leave to cool slightly. Combine the yolks, whole eggs and sugar into a large bowl and beat until thick and light. Add the melted chocolate along with the almonds and the coffee. In the mixer bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Fold carefully into the chocolate mixture and then divide the mixture between the prepared tins. I was filling the topsy turvy tins up to half way on the shorter side.

Bake in the pre-heated oven.  The small cake will take about 40 minutes, the larger cake about 1– 1 ¼ hours. I did cover both of the cakes with foil half way through. Test the centre of each with a skewer, which should come out just about clean. Leave to cool in the tins for a few minutes then turn out, peel off the baking parchment and finish cooling on a wire rack. Push the apricot jam through a sieve, then brush over the tops and sides of the cakes. I did brush them with some brandy as well.

I decorated this cake with sugar work. Covering wonky cakes is very similar to standard round cakes. Cover the larger layer first as it is easier. Roll out the sugarpaste to a thickness of 5mm and use to cover the cake. Carefully ease in the fullness of paste around the sides of the cake: start near the top of the sides and, using a cupped hand, stroke the paste in an upwards direction, gradually lowering your hand down the sides until all the paste is eased in. If the paste seems to be forming a pleat, lift up the sugarpaste around the pleat to redistribute the paste and try again. Smooth the sugarpaste, by firstly using a smoother to iron out any irregulars in the surface of the icing and then using the base of your hand to smooth and polish the top edge. Next, take the smoother and, while pressing down, run the flat edge around the base of the cake to create a cutting line. Cut away the excess paste with a palette knife. I did have to use dowels for this cake. The only difference was that each dowel position was measured and that the tops of the dowels were cut at the same angle as the cake so that they will be flush with the icing. The extra sugar decorations were fixed using eatable glue on the cake.

Put the raspberries in a food processor and blend until they form a purée, then push the purée through a nylon sieve into a bowl to remove the seeds. Gradually whisk in the icing sugar. Serve the cake with the coulis and double cream. Happy Birthday Aimi!IMG_0244

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Orange Cardamom Coffee Chocolate Cake

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Sponge Mix:

250g unsalted butter, softened

250g caster sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 large eggs, at room temperature, beaten

250g self-rising flour

pinch of salt

Chocolate mix:

30g cocoa powder

2 tablespoons milk

Orange Cardamom and coffee mix:

Zest of 2 oranges

12 cardamom pods

12 coffee beans

2 tablespoons dark shaved chocolate

Chocolate Ganache:

100gr of chocolate (70% cocoa solids)

100ml of double cream

 

1 cake tin, greased

Put the butter into the bowl of a free-standing electric mixer and beat until very creamy. Gradually beat in the sugar and the vanilla essence. Keep beating (scrape down the sides of the bowl from time to time) until the mixture is much lighter in colour and very fluffy in texture.  Gradually add the eggs and the flour, 1 tablespoon of flour with 2 tablespoons of the bitten eggs, to prevent the mixture from curdling. Sift the remaining flour and the salt into the bowl and gently fold in using a large metal spoon until you can no longer see any streaks or specks of flour.

Preheat the oven to 180 ° C/ 350 ° F/ gas 4.

Transfer half the sponge mixture to a second mixing bowl.

Sift the cocoa powder onto one portion of sponge mixture, add the milk and fold in until completely mixed, with no streaks of cocoa.

Ground the cardamom and coffee beans and use an espresso machine to filter the mixture. Use 2 tablespoons of the espresso coffee produced (drink the rest is divine!). Alternative (if you do not have an espresso machine) you can ground the pods to a powder and use 2 tsp of instant coffee into 2 tbsp of water to dissolve them.

Add the cooled coffee liquid to the other portion of sponge mixture with the orange zest and stir until thoroughly combined.

Spoon the mixtures into the prepared tin, adding a spoonful of each alternately and scattering the shaved chocolate over the mixture. Gently bang the tin on the worktop to eliminate any pockets of air. Marble the 2 mixtures by drawing a knife swirling it and gently smooth the surface.

Bake for 1– 1 ¼ hours until the cake is well risen and a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Set the tin on a wire rack remove the cake and leave to cool completely. Spread the chocolate ganache over the top of the cake. Happy coffee time!

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