Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Chocolate Birthday Fun

This weekend saw my little sister turn 25. That's right my *little* sister - how can she possibly be that big already?!

Anyway, my little sister turning 25 was a big deal in my family, so we all decided to descend on my mum and dad's house to celebrate. As my mum had already agreed to cook a roast dinner and an apple crumble for 9 people, it seemed only right that her domestic-goddess-in-training daughter offered to make the birthday cake.

So, on Saturday I rolled up my sleeves and got stuck in to a little baking challenge: yummy chocolate cake, good enough to serve to my little sister. The recipe I used came from the BBC's GoodFood Cake Collection, but I tweaked it a tiny bit to meet my needs. This is how it went: 

Ingredients:

For the cake:

140g butter
175g caster sugar
2 eggs (always free-range!)
225g self-raising flour
50g cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
250ml natural yoghurt (yes, really!)

For the icing:

300g icing sugar, sieved
2 tablespoons cocoa powder, sieved
1 tablespoon melted butter
3 tablespoons boiling water
50g milk chocolate, broken into squares
50g white chocolate, broken into squares

Method:

Cake:

1. Heat oven to 180℃ or 160℃ if you have a fan oven like me (Gas mark 4).
2. Grease a 22cm square cake tin and line the bottom with greaseproof paper.
3. Put the butter and sugar into a large mixing bowl and beat together with an electric whisk until light and fluffy (you could do this by hand, but it would take much longer).
4. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well between each one.
5. Sieve the flour, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda into the mixture.
6. Add the yoghurt and stir together until the mixture is smooth.
7. Pour into the pre-prepared tin and level out using a spoon or spatula.
8. Put in the oven and bake for 18 - 22 minutes until the cake is just firm to touch and is starting to shrink away from the edge of the tin.
9. Run a round bladed knife around the edge of the cake, to separate it from the tin, and leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes.
10. After 5 minutes tip the cake out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.

Decorating:

1.  Sieve the icing sugar and cocoa powder into a large mixing bowl and add the melted butter and 2 tablespoons of just-boiled water.
2. Stir together until smooth and spreadable. If it is too stiff, add more water gradually and keep mixing until it will be easily spread.
3. Use a palette knife dipped in hot water to spread the icing over the cake. (Make it nice and thick for biggest grins on eating).
4. Melt the chocolate in two separate bowls, either in the microwave or in a bowl over a pan of hot water.
5. Use a teaspoon to drizzle the chocolate over the top of the cake in pretty criss-cross patterns. I did milk first and white second. Leave to set.

To serve, cut into squares or rectangles and put a candle in each one - I used HAPPY BIRTHDAY candles (but didn't get a photo at that stage) and it looked awesome.

The verdict? Yum yum! This was a lovely, moist and very chocolately sponge. For me, it was a touch too rich, but it seemed to go down very well indeed with the rest of the family!



Music choice for this one was ipod on random, which meant everything from Reel Big Fish to Matchbox Twenty!

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