All bakers know that all chocolate cakes are not created equal. The quest for the perfect chocolate cake is a never ending one and I suspect the criteria for what makes a perfect chocolate cake changes from person to person.
For me, a chocolate layer cake filled with a true vanilla flavoured light icing is my all time favourite. This traced back to when I was in primary school in Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia. Our Holy Infant Jesus Convent School was opposite this traditional bakery shop and every day, after school, I would risk life and limbs crossing the busy main road to get to the bakery. I’d make my regular purchase of egg custard tart and a slice of an almost black forest cake. I say almost because you could hardly taste the cherry flavour. In fact, it was non-existent enough that to me, it was just a normal chocolate cake. I’d pretty much scoff the tart before joining my Father at the nearby Indian restaurant – my Father adored Indian cooking (my Mother didn’t) and he would sneak in a cheeky Indian meal lunch during his daily school run. It was definitely a case of what happens on the school run stays on the school run. I spoke nothing of his poppadum & roti escapade and he turned a blind eye to my addiction to flour confections.
This particular cake I am sharing with you today is a nothing like that almost black forest cake. That will be another tale to tell and I am already working on that recipe. For one, this cake is not a layer cake. I should think it also has a significantly more cocoa and chocolate in it, with proportionately less sugar. The most distinct difference is the almond extract used in it. It really does add an extra dimension of flavour to the cake. The texture is closed, but light. It is quite a crumbly cake, the sort that you ought to enjoy with a cold glass of milk.
320g plain flour
130g cocoa powder
2tsp baking powder
3/4tsp bicarbonate of soda
230g salted butter
300 g caster sugar
4 free range eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
1tsp almond extract
240ml double cream
175g mascarpone cheese
175g dark chocolate, melted
Take the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and mix well in a large bowl. Set aside.
Melt the dark chocolate in a double boiler and allow to cool.
Mix the butter and sugar in a mixer until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs to the butter/sugar mixture gradually. The mixture will curdle.
Add the vanilla extract and almond extract to the mixture.
Mix the double cream and the mascarpone cheese to the cooled melted chocolate. Ensure that it is well mixed.
To the egg, butter, sugar mixture, fold in a 1/3rd of the flour/cocoa/baking powder/bicarbonate soda mixture. Mix well.
Pour half of blended chocolate into the cake mix. Make sure you turn the mixture over well.
Repeat with another 1/3rd of the flour mixture, and then with the blended melted chocolate mix.
The final addition should be the last 1/3rd of the flour mixture.
Spread this into a well greased bundt tin that has been dusted with cocoa powder.
Bake in a preheated oven for 50-60mins at 160C (175C if your oven is not fan assisted). Do check the cake at 50 mins with a cocktail stick. The stick should come out fairly crumb free.
Invert on to a cooling rack and leave to cool completely.
110g milk chocolate, chopped
55g dark chocolate, chopped
180ml double cream
2 tbsp maple syrup
Bring the double cream to a gentle boil and take it off the heat. Place the two types of chocolates into the cream and stir until melted and well mixed. Add to this, the maple syrup. Set aside to cool.
Once the Cake is cool, carefully spoon the ganache on top of the cake. Decorate the way you see fit.