This is my favourite chocolate cake by far. The sponge is chocolatey and squidgy, and the ganache is really light and fluffy, the combination of which makes for a light, non-sickly but still indulgent dessert, perfect for a celebration. When I made this cake for Sam’s birthday a couple of weeks ago, I was struck by how many people that said ‘wow, there’s no way I could make that’, and ‘you’re so clever’ (I’m really not – if things go wrong, I just smother them in chocolate and nobody complains – I dropped a block of cheese on this one getting it out of the fridge, but I covered it up with more ganache), so I thought I’d write this easy chocolate cake recipe up in a step by step way so you can see just how simple it is to make. And then you’ll all be making it for everyone’s birthday from now on, and everyone will think you’re really clever too. Here goes!
So there I was, minding my own business, working hard at the dining room table whilst refereeing the dog and cat because Mr E is painting the lounge ceiling, whilst also, y’know, keeping an eye on social media, when someone went and mentioned cake.
Then that was it. I couldn’t concentrate. I just wanted cake. And the more I tried to concentrate, and stop the dog and cat wrestling, and come up with interesting ways to say ‘amazing’ without using the word 20 times in one article, the more my brain was going ‘cake… cake… caaaaake…’
So it’s been a little frantic here at English Towers. First we had A level results, and then within a week it was GCSE results. Honestly, I really should have planned my children a little better.
Still, it was all good. I used the hashtag #noexamswerefailedonthisday on Instagram but in truth, one exam WAS failed. But hey, it didn’t matter. Sam got what he needed to head out into the big wide world of university, and Charlie’s off to sixth form.
If there’s one thing I always insist upon, it’s a celebration when someone’s done something brilliant. As parents, we spend plenty of time enforcing rules, cajoling, counselling (okay, and occasionally moaning), so when something amazing happens, I always think it redresses the balance a bit to celebrate. Everyone loves a pat on the back when they do something great, don’t they?
So obviously all this exam success called just such a celebration, and what better celebration is there than a whopping great warm, chocolatey, squishy brownie cake smothered in lashings of chocolate ganache? None, that’s what…
It’s been an odd weekend. First of all we watched ourselves on the telly (it’s a very weird experience, I can tell you). We took part in a Channel 5 programme being made about Disneyland Paris’ 20th birthday celebrations when were out there a couple of weeks ago – it aired yesterday. I actually managed to take a picture of the Death Wish Dude being interviewed – here he is in all his widescreen glory! Anyhoo, after all that excitement, it was straight on to the birthday cake challenge. As you might already know, it is the tradition at English Towers for the birthday boy to pick his very own choice of birthday cake. Usually they choose something hideously difficult to make (just to annoy me), but this time, the Birthday Death Wish Dude wanted nothing more than a big fat chocolate cake.
Easy peasy. The only difference is that I had a little experiment and tried making the ganache with coconut milk instead of double cream. It came out deliciously light and whipped beautifully. Highly recommended.
To make the Death Wish Dude’s Ultimate Coconut Ganache Chocolate Layer Cake, you’ll need:
175g butter (I use salted)
175g golden caster sugar
150g self raising flour
20g good quality cocoa powder
100g good quality dark chocolate
For the ganache:
400g tin coconut milk (I used the full fat stuff)
500g (yes, yes, I know… ) good quality dark chocolate
1 packet Maltesers
So firstly, melt the chocolate (you can do it all at the same time or in the two batches. It’s quite easy to pour the melted chocolate into the mixer bowl when it’s sat on the scale) in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Don’t let the water touch the bowl (yeah you know the drill).
Beat the butter in the food processor until light, then add the sugar and whizz again until pale and fluffy. Add in the eggs (I beat them, then add them a dribble at a time – helps with the odd bits of dropped shell too), then stir in the sifted flour and cocoa. Finally, stir in the 100g melted chocolate.
Bake in two medium lined tins for about 20 minutes until just springy in the centre. Allow to cool.
For the ganache:
Warm the coconut milk in a saucepan – don’t allow it to boil, it only needs to be warm enough to melt the chocolate. Then just turn off the heat, plop all the chocolate in and stir occasionally until it’s all melted.
Transfer to a bowl and chill down completely in the fridge.
Carefully slice each cake into two. Pick a nice flat one as your top layer and remember which one it is!
Take the ganache out of the fridge and whip until light and fluffy (or you can just spread it).
Layer the cake slices with a thick spreading of ganache then finish with a nice layer of ganache all over the cake. If the thought of 500g of chocolate gives you a heart attack, you can halve the quantities and just layer the two cakes together.
Finish with Maltesers (beer can candles optional).
And here he is with his birthday cake of choice. Happy birthday, Charlie! xx
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