Britain is a nation of cake lovers, so it stands to reason that a chocolate cake is a must in any aspiring cooks repertoire. I remember as a kid making cakes with my mother, our relationship is shall we say defunct because of various reasons, but one thing is for sure I can attribute my love for food to her, she started me on this road and for that I’m thankful. This cake is rich and decadent, a slight sweetness from the cherries all encased in a rich bitter chocolate ganache. Yes I know it’s fattening, but if your that worried about not being able to fit into your jeans, just have a small piece!
For the sponge:
- 225g softened unsalted butter
- 230g self raising flour
- 225g caster sugar
- 4 free range eggs
- 65g cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 6-8 tbsp boiling water
- 150ml milk
For the filling:
- 150g fresh cherries deseeded and halved
- 50g caster sugar
- 100ml water
- 250g softened unsalted butter
- 190g icing sugar
- 60g cocoa powder
- 2tsp vanilla extract
For the bitter chocolate ganache:
- 150ml dark chocolate about 70% cocoa
- 150ml double cream
1. First thing is to make your sponges, lightly butter 2 x 20cm loose bottomed cake tins then pre heat your oven to gas mark 4 (180°C/350°F). Combine the butter and sugar with an electric whisk (much easier) until you have a pale creamy butter, mix the cocoa powder with the boiling water to make a thick paste then add to the buttercream, then add your eggs and mix. Sift in the flour a bit at a time and fold in, be careful not to work it too hard, next start adding your milk a bit at a time, you may not need all of the milk so mix until the mixture falls off a large spoon in big drops. Lastly add the baking powder and fold in thoroughly. Divide the sponge mix between the 2 cake tins and bake in the oven for 25-35 minutes. The sponges will be ready when they come away from the sides of the tin and when inserting a knife it comes out clean. Leave to cool completely.
2. Now to make your filling. Take your cherries, caster sugar, water and simmer in pan for about 10 minutes until the cherries have softened and you have a thick syrup. leave them to one side to cool. Now take the butter and icing sugar and whisk until creamy, add the cocoa powder, vanilla extract and water, mix until you have a thick glossy cream.
3. Once your sponges have cooled you can assemble the cake.Turn one sponge upside down and spread with the butter cream evenly until it just meets the edge. Strain the syrup from the cherries into a jug, dot the cherry halves evenly on top of the butter cream. Now take your strained syrup and spread on the inside of the other sponge. Place the sponge on top and press gently until the filling meets the edge. leave the cake to one side.
4. Now to make your ganache icing, this is really simple. Take your chocolate, double cream and melt in a bowl over a pan of simmering water until completely melted. Leave the ganache to cool until it thickens slightly and begins to set. Smother the cake in the ganache until covered and Leave in the fridge until set. Decorate with a dusting of icing sugar, white chocolate shavings and some fresh cherries.
This cake is very rich so you will only want a small slice, you can serve with some vanilla ice cream.