Sunday, 5 September 2010

Baking Sunday: Chocolate Meringue cake and Coca Cola cake

Baking is a massive love of mine. I think about baking a lot - what my next project will be, which seasonal fruit to use, what herbs would be nice in which dough and quite often I think about good old chocolate cake. I can go through phases of not baking very often to making three cakes in one day. I am going to try and bake at least once a week and have given myself a Baking Sunday challenge - making something different every week.

I've decided to start with Edinburgh baking lady Sue Lawrence's Book of Baking. After winning Masterchef when it was in its original form, Sue Lawrence wrote for the Sunday Times and for Scotland on Sunday and often has an emphasis on traditional Scottish cooking - her other books include Scots Cooking, Scottish Kitchen, and A Cook's Tour of Scotland. There are a mix of sweet and savoury recipes and range from the very Scottish haggis bread, cullen skink bridies and Dundee cake, to more traditional favourites like Victoria sponge, olive oil loaf and chelsea buns. There are a few quirky inclusions which are really interesting too: lemon berry damper, chocolate-crusted lemon tart, focaccia stuffed with taleggio and ham and sour cream raisin pie. In typical enthsiastic fashion, I picked two chocolate cake recipes to make from the more unusual side of things chocolate meringue cake and chocolate coca cola cake.

The chocolate meringue cake was amazing, light chocolate cakes with a meringue topping sandwiched together with a lemony creme fraiche. I used an orange curd instead of lemon and if I'd had raspberries to hand, I would have added them in the middle as well. A version of this was published in the Sunday Times and apparently was one of the most popular which is not a surprise. It's easy and straightforward to make and tastes divine.

Chocolate Meringue Cake recipe

For the cake:
115g unsalted butter, slightly softened
115g golden caster sugar
3 large free range egg yolks
55g cocoa powder
100g self-raising flour
50mL milk

For the meringue:
3 large free range egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
140g golden caster sugar

For the lemon curd cream:
2 heaped tablespoons of lemon curd
200g creme fraiche

1. Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees C/325 degrees F/Gas mark 3, and grease two 20cm/8in sandwich tins.
2. Beat together the butter and sugar by hand for 4-5 minutes or with an electric beater for 2-3 minutes; it must be light and fluffy.
3. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Then gradually sift in the cocoa, flour and a pinch of salt. Pour in the milk and stir lightly until smooth. Spoon half the mixture into the prepared tins, smoothing down.
4. For the meringue, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt and the cream of tartar until soft peaks form, the gradually add the sugar and continue to whisk until thick and shiny.
5. Spoon the mixture over both cakes and bake for 20 minutes until the meringue is golden. Cool completely in the tins on a wire rack.
6. Remove from tins and carefully place one cake, meringue-side up, on a serving plate. Beat together the lemon curd and creme fraiche and spread this over the top of the meringue. Top with the second cake, again meringue-side up. Either refridgerate or eat within a couple of hours.

The chocolate coca cola cake I just had to make. It's coke! In a cake!! Despite having cola in both the cake and the frosting, it's not an obvious flavour, combined with all the cocoa, but gives a deep richness to the cake - it is super dark, dense and moist with a very fudgey texture. The frosting is particularly delicious but I would add the coca cola mixture in a litle bit at the time to the icing sugar (as always) and you probably won't want to use all of the liquid. The only other thing I would add is this cake doesn't freeze very well (I am in the habit of freezing all of my cakes) - I found that the texture doesn't really recover when defrosted. Very rich so only wee slices required!

Chocolate Coca Cola cake

250g self raising flour
3 heaped tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
280g golden caster sugar
200g unsalted butter
250mL coca cola
100 mL milk
2 large free range eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

150g unsalted butter
50mL coca cola
3 heaped tablespoons cocoa, sifted
400g golden icing sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/350 degrees F/Gas mark 4, and grease a 24cm/9 1/2 inch springform cake tin.
2. Sift the flour, cocoa and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl, and stir in the caster sugar. Slowly melt the butter and coca cola in a pan over a low heat. Add this slowly to the dry mixture, with the milk, eggs, and vanilla, stirring all the time.
3. Once thoroughly (but gently) combined, tip the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for about 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted until the middle comes out clean. Leave in the tin on a wire rack for about 10 minutes then remove the sides of the tin. Cool on its base on the rack.
4. To make the frosting, slowly melt the butter with the coca cola and cocoa in a pan over a low heat. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and slowly pour the liquid over it, beating until smooth.
5. Wait until the cake is cold then remove to a plate and top with frosting.


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