I know, I know, it’s chocolate and raspberries again. I have no imagination. But it’s such a delicious flavour combination! This cake was made on the rather flimsy excuse of the recent Rugby World Cup. We had a tipping competition, and I promised the victor(s) their choice of cake. They wanted chocolate. Don’t we all?
Anyway, what with choir and gardening and such all weekend, I knew I wouldn’t have time to do anything more elaborate than a mudcake, but I actually find mudcakes rather boring, so I took my mudcake recipe and replaced a lot of the chocolate with raspberries. And added a lot of raspberry liqueur, because why not? And then the rotten thing wouldn’t cook through and wouldn’t cook through and wouldn’t cook through, and I still had to make dinner and crumble and cookies and wait for the cake to cool and ice it and get to bed early enough hat I could get into work early today and be there when a certain Professor returned from overseas and found out what the PhD students had done to his office in his absence (to say they decorated it for Halloween doesn’t even begin to describe the unbelievable thoroughness of said decoration. It was literally impossible to walk inside that office. Or even to enter it… And this, incidentally, is why said Professor ought to give me access to his diary. How was I to know there would be a film crew?), so eventually I declared it Cooked Enough, and pulled it out of the oven anyway.
The result is a cake that is dense and truffly and moist – it tastes like a very rich, flourless chocolate cake, with a big hit of sharp raspberry goodness. Always a winning flavour combination. However, I will try to come up with a different one next time, honest…
Your Shopping List500 g dark chocolate + 600 g dark chocolate for the icing (I recommend Lindt 70% for this). 350 g raspberries (frozen is fine) 500 g butter 2 tbsp cocoa powder 1 1/2 cups water 1 1/2 cups brown sugar 2 cups flour 1/2 cup self-raising flour 4 eggs 1/2 cup raspberry liqueur + 100 mls raspberry liqueur for the icing 300 ml cream 150 g icing sugar
Now what will you do with it?
Grease and line a 25cm round tin. And when I say line it, what I really mean is make a bit of a paper collar that goes up an inch or two above the cake, otherwise you will be studying lava flow patterns in your oven for the next few hours. Or weeks, depending how conscientious you are about cleaning your oven.
Pre-heat said oven to 160°C.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter with the raspberries, chocolate, sugar, water and cocoa over low heat. Yes, I know raspberries don’t melt. What I really mean is pour the frozen raspberries in and smoosh (technical term) them against the side of the pan as they defrost. You won’t get the mixture 100% smooth, but that hardly matters. This works best if you start by chopping the butter and the chocolate. Being the lazy soul I am, I chuck the butter in whole, and set it melting while I add everything except the chocolate (ie, the part most likely to burn if left to its own devices in a saucepan), which I break into smallish pieces and throw in piecemeal as I go. It works.
Once the chocolate mixture is fairly smooth, turn off the heat. One should theoretically let the mixture stand before adding the liqueur and the flour and the eggs, but I don’t, because I already know that this cake will take forever to bake and I want to get it into the oven now, so that I can go and do something else. So beat in the flours and the liqueur, and whisk in the eggs. Mix everything as well as you can and then pour into your prepared tin.
Bake for at least 3 hours. Sorry. Three hours was when I decided I’d had enough of this and it was done, OK? Four hours would probably get you a more cakey texture, though I had no complaints about the texture I got, which was somewhere between fudge, truffle and baked cheesecake. Or something.
Let cool in the tin for as long as you can stand. Who knows? Maybe it will cook some more. I didn’t have time to find out last night.
Make the icing. If you are good at chocolate ganache, you should do that. Mine split, of course, so I beat in icing sugar until it looked less split, and poured it over the cake before it had a chance to develop any further agendas. This actually made it go beautifully shiny and delicious and made the cake very pretty indeed, though the icing remaining in the bowl split overnight.
Traditionally, you make ganache by chopping your chocolate quite finely, bringing the cream to the boil, and pouring it into the chocolate. You then let the mixture sit for a few minutes without stirring, and then stir it all together gently. Ha. Like that works. Well, it works sometimes, but mostly I end up with chunky ganache. Double choc-chip ganache, perhaps? If I call it that, it sounds like a selling point, which it really isn’t. Also, if you do something silly like gently heat the whole lot, it splits.
When I eventually do figure out ganache, there will be a post about it, I promise you.
Anyway, what I did on this occasion was melt the chocolate with the cream and liqueur until it split in a ghastly fashion, and then hurriedly stirred in the icing sugar. I suspect a better approach might be to follow a proper ganache recipe, and then stir in the liqueur and sugar. Probably less liqueur than I used, too, though it tastes really lovely my way.
Decorate the cake with fresh raspberries and chocolate curls and nobody will be able to tell what a mess you’ve made of the icing.
Eep. You want variations now? Honestly, there’s not much I can think of to do with this cake on a stuctural level. I suspect it would work fine with quinoa flour (just add a teaspoon of baking powder) or another gluten free flour, and would probably be lovely, if structurally unsound, with almond meal. I think it needs the eggs, but you could probably swap out the butter for nuttelex or coconut oil, and you could certainly use coconut milk in the ganache. Or rice milk, if you can’t have coconut. This recipe is so far from being low-GI that there is hardly any point acknowledging it…
Traditionally, I can’t leave a recipe containing water as an ingredient alone – I’ve been known to use milk, orange juice, coconut milk, or, on one or two notable occasions, more liqueur or brandy instead, but consider how these will interact with your other flavours. You could certainly do this cake with kirsch and puréeed tinned cherries, and it might be rather nice with chopped dried apricots through it and apricot nectar instead of water. And apricot schnapps, of course! Pear puree and pear brandy would also be lovely.