The Brit is not a batter lover. He is nor a hater, but he just prefers to eat tasty baked treats once baked. However…this cake is the exception. He licked the beaters and bowl, without hesitation. That either says great things about my baking abilities, or about my recipe. I will have to go with its a combo.
The tradition of the delish chocolate layer cake with whipped cream and berries crammed in the middle has been a Kuta-Davies household tradition for the past four years, and its tastiness does not stop with just the Brit being a fan. The first year it graced June 25th (or this year 26th to be able to be the star of a get-together – with singing included and all!) the Brit’s Grandpa had 2 pieces. And pops of the Brit ate it too, even after he found out it was dark chocolate (he is a milk lover, we however go all dark, all the time!). I have to admit, that first year was a bit tricky… baking a cake in an Aga. Two actually. Since it was two layers. Creating a double boiler of sorts on its top to melt the essential chocolate ganache-like outer shell, and serving it to the pro of the baking world in the Brit family, Granny. The cake layers come out as springy chocolate induced pillows of tastiness with flakes of almond periodically popping up to surprise you. This marries so well with vanilla-laced fresh whipped cream, the most fragrant raspberries I have ever smelled, and a firm, truffle-like outer casing to hide all of the cake’s delicious goodness from you until its cut open, like a package.
MMMMMM. Let’s just say I passed.
These days I make the Brit’s birthday cake at my own home, sans Aga, but its still quite the load of work with all the waiting, and setting, and cooling. Alas, I wouldn’t have it any other way. If I could make my own birthday cake, I would! But I will just have to keep going with the Brit’s cakes for now. Thanks again to my favorite British Chef, Mr. Jamie Oliver. Another prize deserving recipe is my go to celebratory creation.
What is your favorite cake to bake for yourself or loved ones?
Adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Party Cake recipe
3 rounded tablespoons unsweetened high quality cocoa powder
4 oz 70% dark chocolate
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp butter
3 large eggs
1 1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 handful flaked almonds
1 pint heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup raspberries
1 cup blueberries
Preheat over to 350F. Butter and line the bases of 2 8-inch round cake pans. Melt dark chocolate until just melted in a double boiler (or in a heat proof bowl over a simmering pot of water). Mix 4 tbsp of water with cocoa powder to form a soft paste, and add a touch more water if too clumpy. Mix the cocoa mixture with the melted chocolate. In a separate bowl, beat the sugar and butter until fluffy and pale. Add in the chocolate mixture, eggs, beat until just combined. Add in the flour and baking powder, mix well. Fold in the almonds with a rubber spatula gently. Divide the batter between the two cake pans, remembering to tap each pan on the counter to release any air bubbles. Bake for about 25 minutes, starting to check the cake after 20 minutes. Check the doneness with a toothpick test. The crumb should be fairly dry and moist. Allow to cool 10 to 20 minutes and remove from pans. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
6 tablespoons plus 2 tsp butter
4 to 5 oz high quality 70% chocolate, I used Valrhona
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
3 tbsp milk
Again in a double boiler, melt the topping ingredients until just melted. Allow to cool slightly while in another bowl you whip the heavy cream and vanilla extract until it forms soft peaks.
To assemble the cake, remove the wax paper from both cakes. place one cake on a plate the same size as the cake. Drizzle sherry over each cake if you like (which I highly recommend! mmm). Cover cake on plate with whipped cream and cover with fruit. I would fit as much fruit on as you can in one layer, it helps stabilize the layers. Place other layer on top and press down. Clean up the sides by running a flat metal spatula around the outside of the cake to collect any extra whipped cream, and make sure cream forms a solid layer between the two cakes. Place the cake over a wire rack that you place over a cookie pan, and drizzle chocolate topping on top until fully covered. You most likely will need to collect the excess chocolate that drips off and re-drizzle, to cover the cake completely. Place in the fridge for at least 1 hour for topping to set. Cut and eat up!