It had been a very busy week at school. Worse still, I had lots of work to do at the weekend, a presentation to prepare and three hungry boys in the house to feed. Saturday was two days before payday (and we ALL know how that feels), so it was time for “Pick n Mix” dinners – a mental mixture of whatever can be found in the deepest recesses of the freezer or cupboards.
Me – “Anyone want cauliflower cheese?”
Boys – “Noooooo.”
Me – “Good, there’s no cheese. What about vegetarian meatballs?”
Boys – “Erm… No.”
Me – “I know, how about vegetable stir-fry?”
D – “What veg have we got?”
Me – “Leeks.”
D – “Then No.”
Me – “Okay, how about one sausage with two chicken nuggets, a spoonful of peas, pasta, garlic bread and three mini waffles each? And a yorkshire pudding?”
Boys – “YES PLEASE!”
It turned out okay, but clearly was no gourmet meal. (The cats had Gourmet though, of course.)
I felt sorry for the poor, poor growing boys. A remedy was called for. A miracle, perhaps. A treat, definitely.
Chocolate Layer Cake with Chocolate Roses.
After all, those who bake KNOW that at the end of the month, on the day before pay-day, despite only having a piece of cauliflower chiseled off the back of your freezer, a packet of smart price golden savoury rice and a tin of soup from 1974 in the cupboard, you’ll ALWAYS have the right ingredients to bake a cake!!!
Who says we’ll starve?
Chocolate Layer Cake with Chocolate Roses (8″ round, 3 layers) I made a small 6″ and halved the quantities.
340g (1 and 1/3 cups PLUS 2 tbp) unsalted butter
340g (3 and 1/3 cups) caster sugar
5 tbsp buttermilk or natural yoghurt
280g self-raising flour (2 cups PLUS 1/3 cup) (or plain flour, with baking powder/soda added)
60g (1/2 cup) cocoa powder
EITHER: 1 jar of chocolate spread OR chocolate ganache, cooled.
* Preheat oven to 180 degrees C / Gas 4.
* Grease and line an 8″ or 6″ inch round cake pan.
* Beat together the butter and sugar until light and creamy.
* Beat the eggs, then add to the butter/sugar gradually. If it curdles, add a small spoonful of flour.
* Sift together the flour and cocoa powder. Slowly mix the flour/cocoa powder into the butter/sugar/egg mixture until combined.
* Spoon the mixture into the tin and bake for 45 – 60 mins. Keep checking it towards the end of baking – it is done when you can insert a skewer into the centre and it comes out clean.
* When cool, split the cake into 3 and fill with buttercream. Put the cake slices back together again. Cover with chocolate spread/ganache.
* Place a spoonful of chocolate buttercream onto a plate (to stop the cake sliding around) and place the cake onto it.
* Using a palette knife, cover the cake with spread / ganache.
* Top with chocolate roses and pipe frills/shells/rosettes around the bottom.
Chocolate Ganache Buttercream (I got a ridiculous amount from this! Half the quantity, you’ll have plenty!)
85g (1/2 cup) plain chocolate
285g (2 and 3/4 cups) icing sugar
340g (1 and 3/4 cups) softened unsalted butter
1.5 tbsp cocoa powder
120 ml (1/2 cup) double cream.
* Melt the chocolate. Allow to cool slightly.
* Sift icing sugar and cocoa powder into a bowl.
* Add butter and beat until smooth and fluffy.
* Whisk melted chocolate and cream into the icing sugar mixture. Beat for about 3 minutes.
* Cool in the fridge.
Chocolate Roses (Taken from Mich Turner’s ‘Spectacular Cakes’)
100g dark chocolate
50g glucose syrup
* Place the chocolate in a heat resistant bowl over a pan of simmering water or put it in the microwave to melt.
* Heat the chocolate until it reaches a temperature of 43°C (110°F).
* In another pan, heat the glucose syrup until it reaches the same temperature.
* Combine the chocolate and the glucose syrup and stir with a wooden spoon until it forms a soft ball.
* Wrap in cling film and cool in the fridge, preferably overnight.
* Knead well when you need to use it and follow one of these tutorials: