I mentioned in my last blog post (the one about going mad for the mini-cakes) a pop-up afternoon tea I was holding with my lovely pal Michelle which we're calling Tealicious. Our test run was last Sunday and we packed all our crazy baking skills into one solid weekend. It was a lot of hard work but really worth it - we love afternoon teas and have sampled many so knew exactly what we wanted to do. And if I do say so myself, it was awesome! You can see a few pictures from the event at our Facebook page but here's a wee taster of what we made:
Pictured are buttermilk scones, rhubarb and sugared mint friands, banoffee tarts, Porteugese custard tarts and mini chocolate and raspberry cakes. The chocolate cakes were made in a 12 hole mini-cake pan from Lakeland and they came out perfectly. I love the effect of having a miniature cake all to yourself and it's a really simple cake to make and assemble.
The recipe is from Tea With Bea, a small but perfectly formed afternoon tea book by Bea Vo of Beas of Bloosmbury, who do splendid afternoon teas in that London. I've blogged before about her vegan chocolate cake however this devils food cake is my go-to chocolate cake recipe, as it has ingredients I pretty much always have in the cupboard and consistently turns out springy and well baked, not to mention delicious. It worked brilliantly in the mini-cake pans as the batter was thick enough not to have to worry about leaking through the loose bases.
Assembling the mini-cakes is easy - simply cut each cake in half once cooled and pop four raspberry halves inside, inbetween dots of sweetened whipped cream. Top with the other half and then add a slather of chocolate ganache icing. I just used a simple ganache made of equal parts double cream and melted dark chocolate, I used 250g each for this recipe - heat the cream in a pan until just boiled, take off the heat and add the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted and then allow to cool until it is a spreadable consistency (which will take at least an hour). Et voila! Admire, share or devour your mini treasures!
The Ultimate Devil's Food Cake
Makes 24 cupcakes/mini-cakes or 8" cake
120g natural cocoa powder (Note: This should not be Dutch-process. I used Bournville cocoa powder)
250 ml boiling water
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
125g unsalted butter, softened
275g dark brown soft sugar
165g caster sugar
125 ml vegetable oil
280g plain flour
1 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1. Preheat the oven to 170 degree Celcius. Line the bottom of your cake pan and grease, if using or lay out cupcake cases.
2. Put the cocoa powder in a bowl. Add the boiling water and mix well. Stir in the milk and vanilla extract and set aside.
3. Using an electric mixer or electric whisk, beat the butter and both sugars until the mixture is light in colour and fluffy in texture. Slowly pour in the oil in a steady stream and mix until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until thoroughly combined before adding the next. Scrape down the side of the bowl and mix again.
3. In another small bowl, sift together the flour and bicarbonate of soda.
4. Add one third of th flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix until well incorporated. Add half the cocoa/milk mixture and mix until just combined. Repeat with another third of the flour mixture, then the rest of the cocoa/milk mixture. Finally, add the last third of the flour mixture and mix until thoroughly combined.
5. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake pan or 24 cupcake cases.
6. Bake in the preheated oven for 18-23 minutes for cupcakes and 35-45 minutes for a cake. A wooden skewer inserted in the middle should come out with almost no crumbs attached, and the middle of the cake, when pressed, should spring back slightly instead of sink.
7. Remove from the oven and let cool in the muffin trays or cake pan for 10 minutes. If you've baked a cake, slide a table knife all around the edige to loosen it, then remove from the pan. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 1 hour.