Originally posted 14/04/2015
Before Easter I was struck down with gastroentiritis and it was an utterly horrendous experience. Crippling stomach pains and the inability to eat anything but dry crackers and ginger nut biscuits for over a week meant I was fantasising about the day I could finally stuff my face with indulgent food again, and I swore I’d treat myself by making a big decadent cake when I was better.
Luckily, I recovered in time for the Easter weekend and decided to set myself the challenge of baking something chocolatey that didn’t involve Mini Eggs or Creme Eggs. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Mini Eggs and Creme Eggs but I thought it’d be fun to try something outside-the-box. The result was a creation inspired by one of my favourite treats, Tunnock’s chocolate teacakes, with their heavenly combination of fluffy marshmallow filling, strawberry jam, biscuit base and a crisp chocolate coating. The flavours and textures transfer really well into cake form and it was a lot of fun to make, especially the mountain of meringue frosting topped with a chocolate shell!
Freezing the marshmallow frosting for five minutes before pouring on the melted chocolate is a great tip I picked up from a recipe for hi-hat cupcakes and it really works! Make sure you don’t omit this step or you’ll end up with a runny, melty mess. As I mentioned in my Neapolitan Cake post, although beating egg white with icing sugar makes for a deliciously marshmallow-like frosting, it doesn’t last well and will begin to shrink after a couple of days. The cake will still be delicious but it won’t look as good!
INGREDIENTS – makes 2 sponge layers of 8in/20cm diameter
For the cake:
- 225g/8 oz self-raising flour
- 225g/8 oz caster/granulated sugar
- 225g/8 oz butter/margarine
- 4 eggs
- 2 heaped tbsp cocoa powder
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 egg whites
- 4 tbsp icing sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp golden syrup
- Half a tsp cream of tartar (optional but helps to stabilise the mixture)
- 5 tbsp (approx.) strawberry jam
- 100g/3.5 oz milk chocolate
- 3-4 milk chocolate or plain digestive biscuits
For the cake:
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C (or 160 fan) and line two round baking tins with parchment paper.
- Whisk the butter/margarine and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until pale then whisk in the eggs.
- Fold in the flour, cocoa powder and vanilla extract until a batter of a soft dropping consistency has formed.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tins then pop in the oven and bake for around 15-20 minutes until a cocktail stick inserted into the sponges comes out clean.
- When baked, leave the cakes to cool on a wire rack before turning them out of the tins. At this stage the sponges can be frozen for decorating at a later date if you wish.
- Spread the strawberry jam generously across the top of one of the cooled sponges.
- Separate the egg whites into a clean bowl and whisk with the vanilla extract, golden syrup and cream of tartar, while adding the icing sugar a few teaspoons at a time, until stiff peaks form – you should ideally do this for a minimum of 7-10 minutes.
- Spread about a third of the frosting on top of the jam-covered sponge using a palette knife then sandwich the other sponge on top.
- Spread the rest of the frosting on top of the cake to form a mountain – pile it up as high as possible – then place in the freezer for about 5 minutes until it’s fairly firm.
- While the cake is in the freezer, place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and melt over a pan of hot water or in the microwave in blasts of 30 seconds until smooth.
- Remove the cake from the freezer and immediately pour the melted chocolate over the top of the frosting mountain so that it drizzles down the sides.
- Crush the digestive biscuits into chunks by hand and place on top of the chocolate covering then leave to set before serving. This cake is best stored in the fridge.