The holidays are all but over! Take comfort in the kitchen and bake this incredible chocolate creation – something that is sure to keep the back-to-school blues at bay. This decadent cake recipe and more can be found Lyndel Miller’s latest book Simply Beautiful Handmade Creations: Naked Cakes.
Recipe by Lynel Miller, extract from Simply Beautiful Handmade Creations: Naked Cakes, published by Murdoch Books.
Chocolate Fudge Frosting
250 g (9 oz) dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), chopped
120 g (4¼ oz/½ cup) cream cheese, softened
245 g (8½ oz/1 cup) sour cream
Base Chocolate Cake
100 g (3½ oz) dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), finely chopped
2 tablespoons good-quality instant coffee granules (use decaffeinated if desired)
250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) boiling water
125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) hot milk
50 g (1¾ oz) unsweetened (Dutch) cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or natural vanilla extract
250 g (9 oz) unsalted butter, softened and chopped, plus extra for greasing
300 g (10½ oz) raw (demerara) sugar
200 g (7 oz) dark brown sugar
450 g (1 lb) self-raising flour or
gluten-free self-raising flour
4 eggs, lightly beaten
Salted Caramel Popcorn
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
60 g (2¼ oz/¼ cup) popping corn kernels
110 g (3¾ oz/½ cup) sugar
50 g (1¾ oz) unsalted butter, chopped
2 teaspoons sea salt flakes
Dark Chocolate Glaze
125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) thin (pouring/whipping) cream
200 g (7 oz) dark (70% cocoa solids) or milk chocolate, chopped
1.To crown: Prepare two quantities of the chocolate fudge frosting. Prepare three chocolate cakes. While the cakes are cooling, prepare the chocolate glaze. Prepare the salted caramel popcorn. To assemble, place one of the chocolate cakes on a stand or serving plate and spread with a third of the chocolate fudge frosting. Repeat this process with the remaining cakes and frosting. Cover the top layer with the salted caramel popcorn, piling it higher in the centre of the cake. Drizzle the cake generously with the dark chocolate glaze, allowing the sauce to drizzle down the side of the cake.
2.Chocolate fudge frosting: Here‘s a very rich chocolate frosting that’s delicious. Use it to top a cake filled with a lighter sweet centre, such as vanilla buttercream,mascarpone buttercream or chantilly cream. Pair this with orange yoghurt cake or chocolate cake. Place the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl over a small saucepan of just simmering water. Do not let the base of the bowl touch the water. Heat until melted and smooth, then remove from the heat and stand until just cool. Using an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese, sour cream and icing sugar. Stir in the cooled chocolate until well combined. Use it to frost the cake of your choice.
3.Base chocolate cake: Here’s a delectable, rich cake that any chocoholic will simply adore. It’s as delicious and comforting as you would expect, and is the perfect all-rounder for any occasion. Makes one 20 cm (8 inch) round cake Preheat the oven to 160°C (315°F). Lightly grease a 20 cm (8 inch) round cake tin. Place the chocolate and coffee in a heatproof bowl and pour over the boiling water. Stir gently until melted and smooth and stand until cool. Meanwhile, place the hot milk, cocoa powder and vanilla in a bowl and whisk to combine well, then set aside to cool. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. With the motor on low speed, add the flour, then the beaten egg and beat until just combined. Add the chocolate and milk mixtures alternately and beat until well combined. The batter should resemble a coffee-coloured frosting. Spoon the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 35–40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake stand in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
4.Salted caramel popcorn: Caramel popcorn has a nostalgic appeal for me as it was considered a real treat when I was young. With some added salt, this is even more tempting – and it’s just so easy to make. If you want to save time, use ready-popped corn and jump straight to the caramel part of the recipe. This recipe makes about 4 cups, so you’ll have extra to nibble on. Place the oil in a large saucepan with a lid over medium heat. To test if the oil is hot enough, add a couple of kernels of popping corn to the pan – they should spin around in a circle. Add the popping corn kernels, cover and cook until the corn starts to pop. Shake the pan gently until the corn stops popping, about 7 minutes, then remove from the heat. Spread the popcorn over a baking paper-lined tray and discard any unpopped kernels in the bottom of the pan. Place the sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook, shaking the pan regularly, until the sugar has dissolved. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the caramel is a deep amber colour, tilting the pan gently to make sure the colour is even. Carefully add the butter and stir for 5 minutes or until well combined. Increase the heat, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat again and simmer, without stirring, for another 5–7 minutes or until thick and caramelised. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the salt. Carefully pour the hot caramel over the popcorn on the lined tray. Set aside to cool, then break it into pieces.
5.Dark chocolate glaze: This is a whipped filling of chocolate and cream that is a little lighter than a ganache. It’s delicious used as a glaze or as a pouring sauce to take your cake to another level of decadence. This dark chocolate glaze works beautifully with chocolate cake topped with salted caramel popcorn. You can use milk chocolate instead of dark, if you prefer. Place the cream in a small saucepan and bring to the boil over low heat. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate and stir until smooth. Use it to top the cake of your choice.