I have to admit that I am not a baker. I love to cook but baking is not my forté. However, as a Mom, I did always turn out birthday cakes be it for the kids or for Himself.
A chocolate train for my youngest first birthday, a Barbie doll or an igloo. But my go to cake for all such occasions was a chocolate cake, almost bordering on a Saccher Torte from Vienna. Rich to say the least covered in chocolate Ganache. And as such, it was in demand from my eldest for her wedding cake and 8 years later by my son for his.
This actually was a real conundrum, multiplying up the quantities, in huge amounts and how to stop layer upon layer sinking into each other. Masters of invention, stiff plastic discs were imported from Houston, holes drilled and metal rods inserted along with washers to keep them in place. A Herculean task to transport cake from home to reception, but succeeded we did.
The recipe which was used without fail over several decades was from from Elizabeth David in her 1960 publication of French Provincial Cooking. Hers was always the “Go to” book for she was the authority on French cooking, no pictures or photographs but somehow she inspired a generation, me included.
However, this year I have sinned, I have deviated from my self imposed routine and made a different cake. My mind was elsewhere but had seen a recipe which I thought was rather nice and so proceeded to make the cake ( chocolate of course). It was perfect, it rose some but not too much, when tested, the skewer came out clean. But when I released the spring form pan, DISASTER, the cake became cracked as in a crevasse ! OH No! To remove the cake from the base of the spring form also proved to be challenge, fortunately I have a large flat kind of pizza pell and this came in very useful. I cut a circle of cardboard and managed to manoeuvre cake onto it. Fast forward enough chocolate ganache was made, chilled and whipped to save the cake from total disaster. After all, when covered with chocolate, crackes and crevasses could no longer be seen!
The basic recipe for this is:-
- 150 grams ground almonds
- 225 grams of good dark chocolate ( 75% cocoa)
- 225 grams soft unsalted butter
- 200 grams fine caster sugar
- 6 large eggs, separated
Method is simple:-
- Heat oven to 300F/150C, slightly less for fan ovens
- Grease a 9” round spring form pan
- In a food processor or with an electric whisk beat the eggs and sugar until pale and light, add the egg yolks and marry well
- Gently melt the chocolate, this can be done in a microwave, one quick burst at a time
- Beat the egg whites until stiff
- Pour the molten chocolate into the egg/ butter/ sugar mix and again, marry well
- Then carefully fold in the egg white, until there are no white peaks.
- Pour into the prepared pan and bake for +/- 45 minutes. A skewer will come out clean when the cake is cooked.
Leave to cool before attempting to remove the spring form and care must be taken. This is where I came a cropper as I didn’t expect the cake to be so fragile, but it is!
Do not despair as melting good dark chocolate in equal quantities of double cream, mixing well, leave to cool and refrigerate, beating until a thick chocolate coating that can be piped/ spread onto the cake, will come to the rescue !