Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Chocolate and Raspberry Trick-or-Treat cake

One thing is for sure - going to Clandestine Cake Club certainly stretches your baking capabilities! Every time I see the theme for our local group, I start thinking about what to do and try to come up with something different.

This time, however, I thought I was going to have to give the group a miss as it fell on the day that husband was due to be running the Guild Marathon. However, he had to drop back to the half due to a problem with his knee swelling up over the summer and we worked out it was just about possible to get me there on time if we did some slightly complicated juggling of children.

This time, the theme was Trick or Treat which posed a problem. I don't do fancy or intricate cake decoration - I'm just not cut out for it. That means no cakes in the shape of witches etc, so I had to take a different tack.

I came up with the idea of doing a normal cake but one that bleeds when you cut into it. To me, that meant raspberry and what goes better with raspberry than chocolate? Chocolate cake it was. I tend to stick to the same recipes so Googled a bit and found one I thought would work. It had a raspberry ganache with it but I thought it looked lumpy so went for adding a bit of raspberry flavour to it whilst keeping it smooth. I've never made ganache before so I was a bit tentative about it. Some more Googling offered up the way to get the blood into the middle of the cake - make some raspberry coulis (easy), scoop out the middle of your cake, and "line" it with some buttercream to stop the coulis soaking into the cake. Phew...that gave me a few things to do, which made planning it a bit of a nightmare as I had no time on Sunday to finish off and I was out all of Saturday. So, I had to make my coulis on Thursday, cake and buttercream on Friday, then make my ganache on Saturday and finish it all off.

When I made the cake, the top went a bit mad and bust away from the rest of the cake, which when picked away, left a big dip in the cake, so all I had to do was add the buttercream, spoon in the coulis and sandwich the cakes together. Some of the coulis dribbled down the edges and I was dubious that this was going to work but having procrastinated all evening, I made the ganache and ended up whipping it to thicken it enough to spread. The result was a normal looking cake which gave no clue to its hidden secret.

At our meeting, the cake looked very plain until people started cutting into it and the dark red coulis started oozing out. I usually try my cake first at cake club (just to taste it's OK!) so it took all my self-control not to do so. And it was a huge success - this is yet another cake not for the faint hearted, very rich and certainly, with four chocolate bars in it, not the sort of cake you make every day. But it's really, really worth a go to trick your friends on Hallowe'en which turns out to be a delicious treat.

This was my most popular cake so far at any of the meetings I've gone to - after everyone had taken cake to take home, there was only a quarter left.

Why don't you give my cake a try? Maybe not if you're on a diet, eh?

Chocolate and Raspberry Trick-or-Treat Cake

Serves 16-20 probably - you don't need a huge piece


For the raspberry coulis:
200g raspberries
50g icing sugar (or to taste)
lemon juice, to taste
1-2 tsp cocoa powder (optional)

For the cake:
200g dark plain chocolate, preferably 70% cocoa solids, broken into pieces
200g butter, cut into pieces
125ml freshly brewed (ie hot) espresso, as strong as you can bear
85g self-raising flour
85g plain flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
200g muscovado sugar, preferably dark but light will do
200g caster sugar, preferably golden
3 eggs
1tbsp natural yogurt (I used fat free Greek)
100g frozen raspberries

For the chocolate buttercream:
100g butter, softened
200g icing sugar
2 heaped tbsp cocoa powder
1-2 tbsp milk

For the ganache:
200g dark chocolate, chopped into pieces
300g double cream
1 tbsp light soft muscovado sugar

1. First, make the raspberry coulis. Whizz the ingredients in a blender or food processor, or mash the raspberries with a masher and stir in the icing sugar and lemon. Press the mixture through a fine metal sieve to  remove the pips. Taste and add more sugar or lemon as desired. Sprinkle over the cocoa powder if using, and stir into the coulis - this will help to darken it slightly to make it more like blood, and it will take a bit of stirring to mix right in.  Refrigerate until needed whilst you make the cake.

2. Next, make the cake. Preheat the oven to 160C/Gas3. Butter the sides of a 20cm deep round baking tin ( I use cake release spray) and line the base with baking parchment. Place the broken chocolate into a heatproof bowl and sit this on top of a pan half filled with hot water, taking care to ensure that the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl. Add the butter and the hot espresso, and heat gently until everything is just melted. You can do this in the microwave by heating on medium for around 4 mins, stirring every couple of minutes.

3. Whilst the chocolate melts, mix together the flours, baking powder, sugars and cocoa in a big bowl until evenly distributed. In another bowl, beat the eggs together and stir in the yogurt.

4. Pour both the melted chocolate and the egg mixtures into the dry ingredients, mixing carefully but slowly and stopping as soon as all the ingredients are mixed together. Scrape carefully because the dry ingredients tend to get stuck to the bottom of the bowl! The cake batter will be smooth but quite runny.

5. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin, tapping gently to remove air bubbles and level the mixture. Press frozen raspberries into the batter evenly across the tin then place in the oven. Cook for 1.5 hours, until a skewer comes out clean. Don't worry if the cake cracks on top. Leave to cool in the tin for a little while, then remove from the tin and leave to cool completely on a wire rack. Place in the fridge to get it really firm, then slice the cake into two. Scoop out some of the one of the halves - choose the less even of the two halves. Leave at least a 2cm gap all the way around the edge of the this half or your cake will not sit evenly.

6. Make your chocolate buttercream. First, beat the butter until smooth, either by hand or with a mixer. Sift in the icing sugar and cocoa powder, mixing thoroughly. Add the milk until you get a light but spreadable consistency.

7. Next, assemble your cake. Place the scooped out half on a plate or board. Spread the buttercream all over the indentation left by your scooping - not too thickly but ensure you have a solid layer of buttercream or the coulis will leak through into the cake. Spread buttercream around the edge as well as this will stick the cakes together.

8. We're now ready to fill the hole with "blood". First, take out 1-2 tbsp of the coulis and reserve for later. Then, carefully spoon the coulis into the buttercream lined hole as close to the brim as you dare. Top with the other half, press down gently. At this point, some coulis may leak out of the sides so it's best to leave this in the fridge to "set" the dribbles. The cake can be refrigerated until you need it. I also spread some leftover coulis over the top of the cake to soak in and add to the raspberry flavour.

9. When you are ready to cover your cake, make the ganache. Place the chopped chocolate into a bowl. Place the cream into a pan with the muscovado sugar and heat until it is about to boil. Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate, stirring together until everything melts. Stir in the reserved coulis then leave to cool until it is thick enough to spread. If the ganache is not thick enough, you may whisk it with a balloon whisk for a minute or two until it begins to thicken. Beware as the ganache will continue to thicken after you have stopped whisking so stop just short of soft peaks - I whisked until it felt thicker but was leaving a slight trail in the bowl but it soon firmed up further.

10. Remove the cake from the fridge and spread the ganache over the top and sides of the cake, smoothing it with a palette knife. (If you want to get really fancy at this point, you can grate chocolate over the top or decorate with fresh raspberries but I didn't!). Refrigerate to "set" the ganache then transfer to a serving plate. Take the cake out of the fridge about an hour or so before serving to enjoy it at its best. If you end up with any spare coulis, you can always bring it out to pour over the top once the surprise has been revealed!

Linked up to Dollybakes Calendar Challenge for October.

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