A Tribute to Chocolate…

As it is Chocolate Week (10th-16th October) it seemed only right that I dedicate a little space to such a well loved versatile ingredient, one that is often used in my baking and soon demolished by all! So with this in mind I am sharing one of my favourite recipes – The Double Chocolate Triple Layer Cake finished with handmade chocolates and dark chocolate shavings.  This cake is for the serious chocoholic, the one that is either chocolate crazy or in the need for a serious chocolate hit due to factors beyond every day control (it’s ok you can admit that these situations are usually men-related).

Double gold award winning truffles. A dark chocoate shell with a smooth hand-made caramel centre with fresh Cornish cream and a hint of Cornish Seasalt. Dusted with cocoa powder. TM Nicky Grant 2010

The chocolates can be made well in advance of the cake or you can take the opportunity to visit one of the beautiful local chocolatiers you probably have right on your doorstep. Living in Cornwall I can whole heartedly recommend many but you haven’t lived until you have tried a Nicky Grant Award Winning Cornish Sea Salt Caramel. (if you are not lucky enough to live in Cornwall you can order these online here)

Anyway on to the cake recipe I promised…

For the Cake – 100g butter (if you wanted to be a little more saintly you could use stork!), 265g Caster Sugar (golden if possible), 2 Medium eggs, 50g Cocoa Powder, 1/4 tsp Baking Powder, 1/4 tsp Bicarb of Soda, 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract, 175g Plain Flour, 165ml Milk

For the Chocolate Custard/Ganache – 500g Caster Sugar (golden if possible), 1 tbsp Golden Syrup, 125g Cocoa Powder, 175g Cornflour, 85g butter (again stork could be used here..decide on your halo and whether you want it to slip or not!), 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

You will need 3 8″ (20cm) cake tins greased and lined, and you will need to preheat your oven to 170C (325F)

You will start out by making the Chocolate Custard/Ganache as this will need around 2-3 hours to cool down before you can spread it lavishly over your baked cakes.  In a large saucepan mix together the sugar, golden syrup, cocoa powder and 600ml of cold water and bring this to the boil over a medium heat.  You can whisk this occasionally but its not essential.  The Cornflour needs mixing in a separate bowl with around 150ml of cold water, you may find this seems like you are making cement but it will with a little bit of elbow grease end up as the consistency of thick glue (think the pre-school variety and your there!) Add this gradually to the saucepan with the other ingredients and whisk it constantly over the heat until it goes lovely and gooey and thick.  Then add the butter and vanilla extract, pour into a bowl and leave to cool.

The cake is simple enough, cream your butter & sugar, then add the eggs one at a time until well mixed.  Add the vanilla extract, cocoa, baking powder and bicarb of soda and continue mixing. Add half the flour, then all of the milk and then the rest of the flour and give it one last mix until all is combined. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 20-25 minutes.

Then the fun begins, layer your cakes and lather them in the thick chocolate custard/ganache until the whole cake is covered and then shave some dark chocolate for the top – you can do this by pulling a knife blade along the smooth side of the dark chocolate or by using a peeler to create little curls! Then add your chocolates around the top and voila….a chocoholics dream.

If you want to find out more about what is happening during Chocolate Week 2011 click here to visit the official website!

Claire x

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