Tuesday, 13 September 2011

The Joy of Baking - we should cocoa

in case you're wandering, I wasn't happy with the original photos so i've re-taken them and have re-posted...

I'm submitting the below post for the October edition of Lincolnshire Life Magazine.  It's also my entry for We Should Cocoa, who are celebrating their first birthday this month... congratulations Chele and Choclette x

The Joy of Baking

October 17th to 23rd is National Baking Week here in the UK.  A host of leading baking brands are encouraging Britain to get baking, which I think is a great thing!  Baking to me means many memories of fun times in the kitchen, clouds of flour, kids helping with icing fairy-cakes, licking out the bowl of batter when my mum made one of her wonderful roulades, the most enticing aromas of chocolate or bread coming from the oven and then of course the end result is such a pleasure, whether it be a cake or a pie, pizza or brownies and lets not forget the social aspect... surely baking is mostly all about sharing?

I plan to spend the week baking all sorts of goodies for sharing with friends and family, a roast vegetable quiche, a Lincolnshire Poacher cheese loaf, a game pie and then to top it all off, this wonderful triple layer chocolate cake using hand-made chocolate by Tracey Cox at The Little Chocolatier in Louth.  It looks rather complicated but actually it's very simple to bake and construct, it's the end result which is such a show stopper!

Triple Layer Triple Chocolate Cake

the idea is to make 3 cakes, one in dark chocolate, one in milk chocolate and one in white chocolate but to make it as simple as possible you only make one big batter mix and then add the melted chocolate once it's been divided into three.  If you're feeling really adventurous you could go further and do other layers... a bright green mint chocolate layer would be wonderful, or how about a chocolate orange layer?

This recipe is inspired by Edd Kimber's wonderful new cookbook The Boy Who Bakes.

Ingredients - for the cakes
110g butter
50g plain dark chocolate
50g milk chocolate
50g white chocolate
280ml boiling water
140ml buttermilk
280g plain four
2 teaspoons bicarb
1/2 teaspoon salt
340g caster sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 eggs

for the ganache
225g butter
250g dark chocolate
2 tablespoons of honey or golden syrup (I used Lincolnshire honey from Gunby Hall)
240ml double cream

- grease and line three 20cm cake tins and pre-heat the oven to 180C (or 160C for fan ovens)

- in three bowls gently melt the chocolates in the microwave (so much simpler than a double boiler, but watch like a hawk... you're better off leaving it slightly solid and letting the residual heat melt it outside the microwave...) set them aside to cool

- sift the flour, bi-carb, and salt together into a medium bowl.

- in a separate bowl beat the butter, sugar and vanilla together until light and fluffy then beat in the eggs a little at a time until fully combined.

- mix the buttermilk with the boiling water

- add the flour and buttermilk mix and gently fold it into the mixture.  I do this is stages, separating the flour and buttermilk into thirds.  It makes the cake lighter and avoids any splitting.

- now separate the batter evenly into 3 bowls and gently fold in the 3 different melted chocolates, one into each bowl until you are left with a dark, milk and white chocolate selection of bowls.

- pour each one into its own cake tin and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until a cocktail stick inserted into the centre comes out clean.

- to make the ganache melt the butter, chocolate and honey or golden syrup in the microwave and once smooth add the cream and stir until combined.  Leave to cool for at least 20 mins.

- to assemble the cake simply layer a small amount of the ganache on top of the first cake then sandwich the next cake on top, repeating the process until the three layers are complete.  Then smooth the remainder of the ganache onto the outside.  I use a large old round-headed knife for this as I like 'rough and ready' look but if you want a smoother, professional finish try using an offset spatula.

- grate on a little of the three chocolates you've used to jazz the top up a little.

eat and of course enjoy!



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