If you’re going to be single on valentines day, then you’re in the right place.
I’ll be spending the day baking, as it’s my job, but I wholeheartedly recommend it as a way to spend your day if you’re sad about being alone. There’s nothing like it to help get to know yourself a little better. And with all these crazy storms going on, spending the day in a warm kitchen with a hot chocolate piled with marshmallows sounds pretty fabulous to me.
Don’y worry, I’m not going to suggest you eat this whole cake by yourself, but hey, if you got taken out to dinner, it would probs be about the same amount of calories…..right?!
I’m not going to lie to you, this is a GIANT cake. And it’s one of the most indulgent cakes I’ve ever made, especially with the chocolate ganache. I just love the way it drips down the sides, all gloopy and gooey. I was taught this recipe in Paris and I can honestly say, this is the best chocolate sponge I’ve ever had (and I’ve eaten a lot of chocolate sponge). The coffee and salt really bring out the chocolatey flavour, and it’s incredibly moist – which you need to watch out for when stacking and decorating. I will always, always use this recipe and play around with the buttercream; you can swap it out for salted caramel, peppermint, vanilla or just plain chocolate. Here, I’ve used peanut butter, which is totally delicious but can be quite tough to work with. It’s extremely sticky, so you need to make sure you’ve chilled it a bit before assembling the cake. Also, don’t forget to chill the cake for about five minutes after you crumb the cake, it makes it way more easy to get a flat finish on the final layer. You also need to ensure the chocolate ganache is cool before you pour it on top, or risk melting the buttercream.
You will need:
For the cake:
120g cocoa powder
260g hot decaf coffee (You don’t have to use decaf for this, but after trying it both ways a few times, this seems to have more flavour *shrugs*)
15g vanilla essence
430g plain flour
1 tbsp bicarbinate of soda
425g unsalted butter
3x round 8″ tins, greased
For the Peanut Butter buttercream: (source: javacupcake.com)
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup smooth peanut butter
3 cups icing sugar
1/2 cup double cream
Pinch of salt
For the chocolate ganche:
200g good quality dark chocolate
230ml double cream
2 tbsp golden caster sugar
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees.
Put the cocoa powder into a bowl and pour the hot coffee over the top. Whisk until combined, then set aside to cool.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and vanilla. Once cooled, add a 1/4 of the cooled coffee mixture.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, bicarbonate of soda, salt and butter using an electric mixer, until gravel like. Add the remaining cocoa/coffee mixture, scraping the bottom of the bowl well. Add the eggs and coffee mixture in three parts, scraping well each time to ensure everything is incorporated. Make sure there are no yellow flecks of butter, as these will show once the cake is baked.
Scrape the mixture into the tins. They should weigh around 900-1000g each.
Bake in the oven until a skewer comes out clean- around 45 minutes.
Once removed, leave in the tins until completely cool, then gently remove and leave on a wire rack. Remember, these cakes are extremely moist so try not to be too rough with them.
While the cake is in the oven, make the buttercream.
Beat together the butter and peanut butter with an electric whisk or stand mixer for 2-3 minutes. Add the icing sugar, scraping the sides of the bowl to ensure everything is incorporated. Pour in the double cream and continue beating until smooth. Scrape down the sides and add the salt. Beat on high for 3-4 minutes until it becomes light and fluffy.
To make the ganache, chop the chocolate and place into a bow. Heat the double cream and sugar in a pan until it’s just about to boil, then pour this over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Leave to cool.
To assemble, cut the rounded tops off the cakes using a bread knife, to ensure a flat surface. Put a little buttercream on your cake board to hold it in place and take the strongest looking cake as a base. Spread the buttercream evenly over the top using a palette knife. Place your middle layer on top and again, spread with buttercream. For the top cake, turn it upside down to ensure a really flat top. Crumb the cake by spreading a thin layer of buttercream all over the cake using a large pallet knife. Try to wipe it before dipping it back into your bowl of buttercream so that no crumbs fall into the bowl. once the cake is completely covered, place in the fridge to cool for five minutes.
Start on your second layer, making this much thicker. Try to cover the cake so that no bits of sponge are peeking through. Make the top and sides as flat as possible.
To add the ganache, start by adding a small amount, and using a small, clean palette knife, gently spread it over the top of the cake. To control the drips on the cake, gently push it over to sides and let it drip down, adding more if needed.
Sprinkle the edges with decorations of your choice. Gold glitter looks particularly pretty next to the dark ganache.
Also, would this be a single girl’s valentines blog post without a little SATC? I hope you guys don’t take it this far…