Impressive for the oozing layers and very doable
The return of The Great British Bake Off to BBC1 last night has caused an enormous wave of contentment across the country as we all sit on the sofa enjoying the trials and tribulations of these brave amateur bakers. I entered the competition once, and got quite far down the line, but alas it wasn't meant to be. Looking at the standard year on year, there is not a snowball's chance in hell I would even get my bakes out of my front door now!
We were all on tenterhooks last night as Dorret pulled her Black Forest Gateau out of the freezer and it wasn't set, creating the ultimate cake mudslide across her worktop, but she prevailed and has remained in the competition until next week. Woohoo! Oh the joys of this very British programme, taking us all on highs and lows right from the comfort of our sitting room, in our pyjamas after a long day at work.
The programme is wonderful for inspiring us to take to the kitchen and attempt our own showstoppers. I give you a very easy one right here that really takes a standard chocolate cake with buttercream right to the next level. This is a naughty, dirty and delicious cake and easy to whip up. It is moist, light and decadent. I made this this weekend (I was visiting my parents in Somerset) and the whole thing was hoovered by my family in less than 24 hours. The perfect weekend cake to feed those chocolate lovers for tea in the garden and Dad's who are seeking 5 minute peace by reading the newspapers (see him hiding in the background of the picture to the left).
A quick note: You will see that the cake is 4 layers. If you have a steady hand and a good eye, you can do this with a sharp knife. I use one of these clever slicers which gets the layers really even. If you don't have the time or inclination for either, this cake does work as 2 layers too!
For the cake:
100g softened butter plus a little extra for greasing the tins
1 tbsp lemon juice
225g plain flour
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
50g cocoa powder
250g caster sugar
3 medium eggs beaten
For the icing:
250g dark chocolate
3tbsp caster sugar
300ml sour cream
1. Grease and line 2x 20 cm sandwich tins with greaseproof paper, then grease that paper too. Pre heat the oven to 180C.
2. Pour the milk into a jug, then add the lemon juice and put to one side to sour. Don't panic when you see it going thick and lumpy - it is supposed to be!
3. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and cocoa powder together in a bowl.
4. Beat the butter and half the sugar together in another bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs (don't add them all at once as it will curdle the mixture) and then the remaining sugar.
5. Mix in the soured milk alternately with the flour mixture into the butter mixture a few tablespoons at a time.
6. Divide the mixture between the 2 tins and bake in the oven for 25 mins. Test after this time with a skewer, if it comes out clean, then the cake is done. Leave in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
7. For the icing, break up the chocolate and melt it in a bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water. Remove from the heat and leave to cool for 5 minutes. Whisk in the sugar and sour cream.
8. Slice each cake in half to create 4 layers. Put one layer on a plate and spread with a quarter of the icing, repeat on all the layers and then completely cover the cake in the remaining icing.
9. Enjoy in the garden, or put in front of a relaxing man reading the newspapers. It will be gobbled up in no time at all!
(This recipe has been adapted from Devil's Food Cake recipe in the Good Housekeeping Cookery Book.)