Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Guest Post: Alexandra's Sticky Chocolate Cake

Hello cake lovers, I hope you've had a great start to you week.

Our guest post for the week is from Alexandra Ball - who prepared an absolutely decadent Sticky Chocolate Cake, which as you will read below, was a legacy of her grandmothers'.

For those who hadn't heard, we did a little stint on 666 ABC radio on Sunday morning which you can check out here, but for now - enough about us and over to Alexandra!

This cake is satisfyingly simple yet gloriously celebratory, and its dense deliciousness is all thanks to the secret ingredient, golden syrup.  It has the perfect blank, chocolatey canvas for you to have some fun with flavours; try including orange, hazelnut, fig, ginger or even chilli.  This time round, I opted for earthy cardamom and roasted almonds.  But for the authentic experience, you can’t go past luscious raspberry.

Grandmas' Sticky Chocolate Cake in all her glory

Granda, my grandmother, was a serious entertainer, and this cake of hers continues to make appearances at all significant family celebrations.  Take her advice and allow plenty of time between assembly and serving, for the rich flavoured cream to sink into that dense, dark cake.  I’m sure she’d also want you to know that this cake is best enjoyed post dinner, with a glass of champagne and your old favourite tunes, somewhere around 2am…

Granda’s Sticky Chocolate Cake

NB. this recipe is for a two-story 20cm cake.  See variations to get the finished product, above.

  • 250g SR flour, sifted
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa
  • 125g white sugar
  • 1.25 cups hot water
  • 2 tab golden syrup
  • 90g butter
  • 1 tsp bicarb soda
  • 150ml thick cream
  • punnet or two of raspberries
  • (cardamom and almonds – see variations)
  • 100g sifted icing sugar
  • Extra raspberries
  • (Granda would insist all you need is a dusting of icing sugar and a pile of raspberries, but I topped it with a chocolate glaze.  See variations)

Grease 2 x 2cm round cake tins.  Preheat the oven to medium head.
Combine the sifted flour with sugar in a large bowl.
In a saucepan over low heat, combine water, golden syrup, and butter, stirring until melted.
Add cocoa (be generous) and increase heat until just bubbling.  This releases amazing flavour in the cocoa.  Cool slightly and stir in bicarb soda.
Gently incorporate wet and dry ingredients, mixing by hand until just combined. Do not beat.
Pour into prepared pants and cook 20 mins, turning half way.  Cool completely in tins, then run a sharp knife around the inside edge of your pans and turn out carefully onto racks.

Flavour the cream, whip to soft peaks and refrigerate.  

Use a large sharp knife to gently slice any major bumps due to uneven rising.  A gentle rise is fine.
Place your base layer onto your cake plate and spread with cream, making sure it reaches the edges. Arrange raspberries evenly, prodding them down slightly into the cream.
Add your second story upside down (that is, flat side up), and use the back of a butter knife create a smooth edge of cream between the cake layers.
Ice your cake, allowing drips to fall down the sides of the cake.  

Allow at least 3 hours between assembly and serving. 

I made the following variations for the February CakeUp.
  • Additional layer: an addition half quantity of the cake recipe gave me a third story, which necessitated extra cream and fillings.
  • Cardamom cream: ground 8-10 pods of cardamom in a mortar and pestle and add a pinch at a time to the whipped cream, testing for flavour as you go.
  • Fillings: roasted almonds and chopped into slivers - a lovely accompaniment to cardamom.  I also used frozen raspberries, thawed in a sieve over a bowl.
  • Glaze: I glazed the cake rather than dusting with icing sugar.  (Measurements are approximate) Heat 50g butter with 2 tab cocoa.  Incorporate ¾ cup sifted icing sugar little by little, alternating with hot water (50-100ml in total).  Add 2 squares of very dark chocolate.  Beat in 50ml thick cream and ½ cup plain yoghurt (I used Jalna – sour cream would work well, too).  Check consistency by placing in fridge for 2-3 mins.  The icing should be just starting to set as it cools.  Check the flavour is not too bitter, and add more yoghurt, vanilla and sugar to soften flavours.
In Good Company

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