Now I decided this year that New Year is an event that requires a cake. And as I had received a Great British Bake Off recipe book this Christmas, I went straight to Mary and Paul to find a showstopping bake.
And this is the one I settled on:
Isn't that an impressive cake? And not nearly as hard to make as it looks. Mine doesn't look exactly like Mary's, but it all got eaten before I could swipe myself a slice, so it must have tasted pretty good.
This is what is known as a 'hidden design' cake. That is, a cake which when cut into, reveals a design that is not visible from the outside. There are many different types of hidden design cakes and many different methods of making the hidden design. This is the first I have attempted and one of the most easy I have come across. Others include this cake from the Great British Bake Off:
If you want to make the Chess Cake you will need piping bags, and at least two sandwich tins of the same size, preferably three (Mary says 20.5cm). You can find disposable piping bags in most decent-sized supermarkets in the baking section. You can get nylon piping bags in specialist baking shops but I can't be bothered with washing piping bags out so I shall not be buying them. Ever. Also, if you do not have two sandwich tins of the same size, you can sometimes hire them from baking shops.
Now, Mary would have you make the chocolate curls by tempering chocolate, which makes it shiny and stuff. But to Mary I say: "Mary, I am a busy woman. I do not always have time to temper chocolate. Not today, Mary." And so I have given you another (much easier) method to make chocolate curls.
So, the first thing you need to know is how to make up a sponge mixture. For this, you will need:
350g unsalted butter or margarine (such as Stork)
350g caster sugar
6 large free-range eggs
350g self-raising flour (weighed out beforehand)
pinch of salt
1. Put the butter in a large mixing bowl or in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat until creamy, then add the sugar and beat until mixture becomes light in colour and fluffy in texture.
3. Sift in the remaining flour and salt and fold in gently using with a large metal spoon or spatula.
You will need:
For the cake mixture:
sponge ingredients as above
1 tsp vanilla extract
50g cocoa powder
4 tbsp milk
For the white chocolate ganache:
175g white chocolate
125ml whipping cream
50g unsalted butter
For the dark chocolate ganache:
300g dark chocolate
300ml whipping cream
100g dark chocolate
half a knob of butter
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Grease both tins and line the bases with baking parchment. Make up the sponge mixture as above. Transfer half the mixture to another bowl, add 2 tbsp of milk and sift in the cocoa before folding it in gently. Add 2 tbsp of milk and the vanilla extract to the other mixture and put each mixture into a piping bag.
2. Pipe a ring of vanilla mixture around the inside edge of one tin. Then pipe a ring of chocolate mixture around the inside of that. Repeat with alternate vanilla and chocolate rings until the tin is filled. For the third tin, start with chocolate so it is filled with the reverse of the other tins. If, like me, you only have 2 tins you will have to bake the sponge in those tins and then reuse one.
5. After the sponges have completely cooled, place one of the 2 identical sponges on the plate you intend to present it on, and spread the top with white chocolate ganache. Then place the reverse sponge on top and spread that with ganache before placing the final sponge on top.
7. To finish, make chocolate curls by melting the butter and chocolate together in a bowl above a saucepan in barely simmering water. Then pour the mixture into a rectangular container out of which it can be easily pressed, and put in the freezer to set. Once set, use a vegetable peeler to slice large chocolate curls off the chocolate block onto the cake. Hold the block in some folded kitchen towel to protect it from the heat of your hand.
If like me, you are badass, finish the cake with edible gold glitter, and a sparkler. Or two.
Not the neatest slice in the world but you get the idea. Again, I apologise for poor-quality photos. When I am a famous baker-journalist I'll get a professional to take my photos.
Until next time, bakelings,