Can I just say a huge "Thank you" to our lovely niece, Zoe.
When I announced that I was going to set up a food / baking blog she was very encouraging and offered to try to answer the questions I had. Several texts and e-mails later I'm now starting to understand the technology and software a little more! I may have almost bombarded her with 'what does this mean...' and 'how do I ....' queries; and bless her, she's answered them as best she can, pointing me in the right direction. Zoe's a whiz with technology, far more technologically minded that Mr E & myself. She's the author of two fantastic blogs, Oh Zoe and Diary of a Freelancer. Oh Zoe has recently been re-branded, previously being known as Sweet Electric. Pop over and have a look (though not just yet), she has some great HTML tips & tricks on Oh Zoe as well as other general blogging advice. I need to get my backside in gear to utilise some of these specific tips!!
So, as Mr E & I were popping over the county boarder to Lancashire to visit, we thought we'd show our appreciation to Zoe by making her something yummy, yet stunning. After quizzing her mum about what sorts of flavours she particularly likes, we decided to make a chocolate cake. But although Zoe loves chocolate she often finds it a little too rich, so we decided to make a marbled chocolate cake flavoured with orange to cut through that richness. And, as we all know, chocolate and orange is such a classic combination.
The cake was split in half and filled with a home made orange curd and then coated in a white chocolate ganache. A chocolate collar was them made from melted Terry's My Zoe's chocolate orange segments.
The orange curd was really scrummy! I must admit it took a wee while to make, at least half an hour, standing alongside the oven as I constantly stirred the mixture; trying to ensure the eggs didn't scramble! Any remnants of the orange curd is really tasty on some nice scones or humble bread; perhaps have a go at this super easy Soda Bread. The curd will keep well for a few days covered in the fridge. If you don't fancy making your own curd, there are quite a few orange curds available in supermarkets.
As for the white chocolate ganache, this takes a couple of hours to firm up. However I still felt the need to whip the mixture to create a thicker, more luxurious feel to the frosting. As you know, double cream and whipping cream are really easy to over whip when using electrical beaters; so because of this I really would advocate whipping it the old fashioned way with a balloon or egg whisk. After all, you don't want to go to the time and cost of making a lovely ganache, only to end up over beating the cream. Now because the mixture is already thick with the inclusion of the chocolate, it is hard work, but stick with it. It'll only take 3 or 4 minutes. The whipped ganache was applied to the cake roughly using a piping bag, simply to try to avoid cake crumbs being picked up when distributing the chocolate ganache. This worked a treat, and will be a technique I'll use again in the future.
The observant amongst you will also notice that the two ends of the chocolate collar don't meet! This is because, although I had measured the circumference of the cake I didn't stop to consider that the circumference will be longer once the frosting is applied! Dur! Basic GCSE maths! Do learn from my mistakes. As Mr E says, "If nobody made a mistake, there'd be no need for rubbers on the end of pencils!" Not to worry, I was still more than happy with it. And Zoe was really please to receive it also!
Thank you again Zoe.
So let's get to it and bake!
Marbled Chocolate Orange Celebration Cake
Yield: 1 x 20cm cake; providing 8 - 10 slices.
Freezable: Yes, undecorated
Time: about 1.5 hours, plus cooling time
Inspired by: Mary and Paul's Chocolate Creation Cake, page 65 of the GBBO Everyday book
You will need:
1 x 20cm round deep cake tin
2 piping bags
Fine writing nozzle
Drum board or cake stand
Greaseproof paper or acetate
For the Sponge
225g unsalted butter, softened (plus a little extra for greasing)
110g golden caster sugar
115g caster sugar
4 eggs, lightly beaten
225g SR flour, sieved
0.5 tsp vanilla extract
100ml milk + 2 tbsp. milk
2 tbsp. cocoa powder, sieved
grated zest of 2 oranges
For the Ganache Frosting
250ml double / whipping cream
250g white chocolate, broken into small even sized pieces
For the Orange Curd
3-4 tbsp. shop bought orange curd
zest of 3 oranges
100ml of juice from the oranges (about 2 oranges)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
75g caster sugar
75g unsalted butter, diced
For the Chocolate Collar
about 80g Terry's chocolate orange 'segments', 3 further 'segments' for grating
How to make it:
1. Pre heat the oven to 180c / Fan 160c / Gas 4.
2. Make the ganache. Heat the cream in a heavy based saucepan until very warm, but not boiling. Add the broken white chocolate and allow it to melt for a couple of minutes. With a dessert spoon or spatula, stir the mixture thoroughly for a further 2 or 3 minutes until the chocolate has completely melted and the ganache is smooth. Pour into a bowl and set aside. Once fully cold, cover and place in the fridge to firm up. This can take 2 or 3 hours.
2. Grease the cake tin with butter. Place a tablespoon of plain flour into the tin and, whilst holding it over a sink, roll the tin around to encourage the flour to stick to the greased tin. Tip out any excess flour.
3. Make the sponge. Place the butter in a large bowl and beat either with a wooden spoon, hand held electric beater or stand mixer. Add the sugar and beat well until pale and fluffy. Add the beaten eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition. If the mixture looks like it may curdle, add a dessert spoon of the weighed sieved flour and mix to combine. Add the vanilla to the measured 100ml of milk and stir together. Pour the milk mixture into the batter and beat in well. Add the sieved flour and gently fold in using a spatula or large metal spoon.
4. Place half of the sponge batter into another bowl. To one half add the sieved cocoa powder, grated orange zest and the extra 2 tbsp. milk and fold into the mixture.
5. Using two dessert spoons, place alternate spoons of chocolate and plain batter into the prepared cake tin. Lightly smooth out the mixture. Using a spoon handle, lightly ripple the sponges together. Avoid over rippling the mixture.
6. Place in the centre of the oven and bake for about 50 minutes. After 35 minutes, quickly cover the cake with tinfoil and rotate the tin. The cake is cooked when an inserted skewer removed from the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and place onto a cooling tray. Run a pallet knife around the edge of the tin. After 5 minutes remove the cake from the tin and allow to cool fully on the cake rack.
7. Whilst the cake is baking make the orange curd. Place the grated orange peel into a bowl (this will eventually be suspended over a pan of water). Place the orange juice into a small heavy based pan and heat allowing the juice to evaporate until 2 tablespoons of concentrated juice are remaining. Pour this over the grated orange zest. Allow to cool. Add the beaten eggs, sugar, and diced butter to the bowl. Place a pan of water on the hob over a low - medium heat. Suspend the bowl over the pan of water, not allowing the water to touch the base of the bowl. With a wooden spoon or spatula, keep stirring the mixture until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves. Carry on heating the mixture, not allowing it to become too hot so the eggs scramble, until the mixture thickens. To test if the mixture has cooked through, run a finger down the back of a spoon coated with the orange curd mixture. The mixture should not run into the line your finger has traced. Pour the mixture into another bowl and set aside to cool.
8. Prepare the cake. With a sharp serrated knife level the cake if necessary. Slice the cake in half horizontally using the serrated knife. Place the bottom half of the cake onto you chosen drum board / cake stand. Spoon about half to two thirds of the orange curd onto the cut side of the cake base. Spread out the curd leaving a boarder of about 1cm around the edge of the cake. Sit the cake lid on the base, aiming to replace it in the same orientation as it was split. Carefully remove any crumbs from the cake stand and cake itself.
9. Prepare a strip of greaseproof paper / acetate which will be used for making the chocolate collar. Measure the circumference of the cake. Cut a length of grease proof paper or acetate a little longer than that measurement, this will allow for the presence of the ganache. Also consider the height you want the collar the be. Set aside.
9. Place the white chocolate ganache into a good sized bowl and whisk the cream, by hand, using a balloon or egg whisk. Avoid over whisking.
10. Place the beaten chocolate ganache into a piping bag (no nozzle required). Pipe the chocolate ganache over the cake top and sides roughly. Use a pallet knife to smooth out the chocolate ganache. Set aside to firm a little.
11. Using a pencil draw your design on to the grease proof paper / acetate collar. Lay the greaseproof paper / acetate collar pencil side down on a clean work surface. Tack it down using a little margarine.
12. Make the chocolate collar. Melt the Terry's chocolate orange. Place into a piping bag fitted with a fine writing nozzle. Swirl your chocolate onto the greaseproof paper / acetate to make your design. Leave for 15 minutes to allow to firm up a little. Place the cake next to the greaseproof paper / acetate. Carefully lift the greaseproof paper / acetate and wrap around the cake.
13. Grate 2 or 3 chocolate orange segments over the top of the cake.
14. Carefully remove the greaseproof paper / acetate after 1 or 2 hours.