Friday, September 23, 2011

Here's to the men in our lives!

There’s one man in my life who I can’t imagine living without – though, sometime I have to admit I do fantasize about life without the clutter he makes! He has an enthusiasm for life like I’ve never seen, he’s always thinking and questioning but most of all he has a childlike zealousness for all things dorky.

Today is my dad’s birthday, no it’s not a significant one but there’s no reason it can’t be special. In the midst of a hectic week with numerous assignment due, overseas guests arriving, a lunch for mum’s birthday (next week) I’ve relished the excuse to get away from the pressures of university by making dad’s birthday cake.

Dad is an engineer and has a fascination with structure, objects works and, well, anything that involves tinkering so this cake had to have some a little more construction required than a normal cake. Given this is the first cake I’ve made in almost a year I erred on the side of caution and kept it simple yet stunning.

I couldn’t resist taking a photo outside and while it’s not set up as I’d have liked the chocolate edge melted before my eyes within 20 seconds of getting outside, however I’ve included this to show you that the top was even!

I found I only needed 100g of chocolate for the wrap, and, I'm not sure if it's just me but I didn't know what a 3dl was, it's 3 decilitres aka 300ml.

I hope you enjoy this one as much as we did, I was worried when making it that it would be too dense but if you're careful when incorporating the egg whites I promise you can have a normal sized piece without feeling over-chocolated. Is that a term? It is now! 

Finally, the recipe says it serves 10, there were 6 of us and we didn't get half way through so this is a great cake if you're expecting a number of people and want something with wow-factor that you won't have to slave over for days.

Lightly adapted from Jungle Frog Cooking, Blue Chocolate Cake.

300g dark chocolate
4 tbs strong coffee
250g butter (unsalted)
225g cane sugar
8 eggs (split)
50g plain flour
25g cocao powder
1 tsp baking powder
250g ground almonds
100g meringues (ground)
500g blue berries and strawberries
300ml double (whipping) cream
300g dark chocolate
Chocolate Wrap
100g dark chocolate

Preheat over to 180 C, grease two 20cm baking tins.
Melt the chocolate and coffin in a bain maire, leave to cool. Cream the butter and sugar and add egg yolks one at a time beating between additions. Sieve flour, baking powder and cocoa power together and fold into butter mixture. Fold in melted chocolate, ground almonds and meringues. Whip the egg whites to stiff peaks and fold into batter. Split the batter between the tins and bake for approximately 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. You may need to cover cakes with foil after 30 minutes if they look as thought they're going to burn. 
Chop chocolate finely and place in a bowl. Bring cream to the boil and pour over the chocolate, let it stand for a minute and then stir until an even consistency. 
Allow the cakes to cool in the tins for 10-15 minutes then remove and let them drop to room temperature. Stack the cakes onto of one and other with the ganache in the middle (I like to put the second one on upside down as it gives a flat surface for the berries). I then put this in the fridge overnight.
Chocolate Wrap
Measure the circumference of your cake and the height of it. Tear a piece of baking paper the same length as the circumference of the cake and cut it so it is slightly higher than the cake (I added 1.5 inches to the final height of my cake). Place this baking paper over more baking paper allowing for easy clean up. Melt the chocolate in a bain marie and pour over the measured baking paper creating a thin layer of chocolate. Now wrap this around the cake and leave in the fridge for 20 minutes before carefully removing the baking paper and pilling with fruit.

Jungle Frog cooking has a wonderful video showing this step here.


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