Certain cakes are addictive – this is one of them.
Rich and smooth, tasting its best when served at room temperature, the ganache glaze has a melt-in-the-mouth texture that’ll have you coming back for a second slice
For the cake mix:
• 250g plain chocolate, (minimum 53% solids), chopped or in buttons
• 335ml milk
• 570g soft light brown sugar
• 210g unsalted butter, softened
• 4 large eggs
• 365g plain flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
• pinch salt
• 15g cocoa powder
• 3 15cm square sandwich tins
• cake leveller or large serrated knife
• non-slip turntable flat disc to place on top of the turntable
• 15cm square cake card metal side scraper
• plastic piping bag
• metal star piping nozzle
• Assembling layer cakes
For the ganache:
1 Bake the sponge one day ahead of serving. Assemble and decorate the cake on the day of serving. Prepare the ganache filling a few hours before use, so it has time to set.
2 Preheat the oven to 160°C.
3 Prepare the sandwich tins by greasing and lining them with greaseproof paper.
To make the cake:
1 Place the chocolate, milk and 285g of the light brown sugar in a deep saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring with a spatula.
2 Place the butter and the remaining light brown sugar in a mixing bowl and cream together until pale and fluffy.
3 Beat the eggs lightly in another bowl and slowly add to the butter mixture while whisking quickly.
4 Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and cocoa powder together and add to the butter mixture in two batches. Mix together slowly until the batter is just combined.
5 Slowly pour the hot chocolate mix into the batter in a thin and steady stream, mixing at a medium speed.
6 Scrape the bottom of the mixing bowl with a rubber spatula to make sure the batter is well combined.
7 Immediately pour the sponge mix into the lined cake tins and bake for 30–40 minutes, depending on your oven.
8 The sponge is cooked when the sides are beginning to shrink away from the edges of the tin and the top springs back to the touch.
9 Once cooked, the texture of this chocolate cake is slightly sticky and dense. If you insert a clean knife or wooden skewer into the centre of the sponge, it should come out with a small amount of crumb sticking to it.
10 Once the sponge is baked, let it rest for about 30 minutes outside of the oven.
11 1Once just warm, run a knife all the way round the sides of the tin, remove the cake from the tin and leave to cool completely on a wire cooling rack.
12 Once cool, wrap the sponge in cling film and then rest it overnight at room temperature. This will ensure that all the moisture is sealed in and the sponge firms up to the perfect texture for trimming and layering.
13 When trimmed too soon after baking, the sponge tends to crumble and may even break into pieces.
To assemble the cake:
1 Using the cake leveller or serrated knife, trim the top and bottom crusts off the sponge. 2 Slice the trimmed sponge into three horizontal layers of equal depth.
3 Sandwich together the three sponge layers using the ganache. With one-third of the ganache, cover or crumb-coat the top and sides of the cake.
4 Working with a square cake is slightly trickier than a round as you must cover each of the four sides separately. Chill until set.
To glaze the cake:
1 Place the cake on a wire cooling rack and slide a tray underneath. Warm the remaining ganache to a thick pouring consistency.
2 Pour the warmed ganache over the top of the cake ensuring the sides are evenly covered.
3 Tap the tray to spread out the ganache and pop any air bubbles that appear. Chill the cake until set.
1 Place the cake either on a cakestand or on top of the turntable covered with a piece of greaseproof paper.
2 Take the ganache caught in the tray and whisk it by hand until it stiffens slightly. Place a star nozzle into a plastic piping bag and fill with a small amount of the stiffened ganache.
3 Pipe a border of S-scrolls and C-scrolls all around the edges of the cake top, pipe a border of shells all around the bottom edge.
4 If the cake has been placed on greaseproof paper, chill until the piped borders are set before transferring to a cakestand.
5 Serve the cake at room temperature. This cake is best enjoyed within 3 days of baking, but it can last for up to 1 week.
Recipe courtesy of Peggy Porschen, extracted from Boutique Baking © Quadrille Publishing