Could anything like that really taste good? Despairingly, I made a cream cheese icing which actually worked nicely and made me feel better about taking my humble cake to the meeting.
It turned out I had worried about nothing and everyone really loved the cake. Seeing it again in the photos, golden and glowing in the all too brief rays
of the evening sun, I think it looks lovely after all and wish I could convince myself more often that the most complicated things aren't always the best.
1 pack of full-fat Philadelphia cream cheese at room temperature
250g soft butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 packet baking powder
200g plain flour
Preheat the oven to 160° and butter a bundt pan or Springform if you prefer.
1. Mix the cream cheese and butter with a hand held electric mixer for 2-3 mins or until smooth.
Add the sugar and beat until light and
fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time and mix well and then theflour, baking powder and salt.
2. Pour the batter into your baking tin and
shake it a little so the top is roughly flat and the same level everywhere. Bake until the cake is golden and a cake tester comes out clean - around 70 mins.
3. When the cake is ready, take it out of the oven and leave it in the tin for about 20 mins before turning it out onto a cooling rack. If you like, you
can also make the icing - this is probably a good idea if you want to at it the next day so it doesn't dry out.
Cream cheese icing
25g icing sugar, sieved
15g soft butter
Simply mix all ingredients in a bowl until smooth. Add more sugar or cream cheese if the icing is too runny or stiff. Spoon over the cake.
I'm now going to immediately contradict myself by giving you a recipe for a chocolate torte of Gargantuan proportions which is undoubtably THE chocolatiest cake I've ever eaten. It takes a bit of time but isn't complicated and surely, this should be a good enough reason to make it as everyone will think you've been working in the kitchen forever . The most important thing however is patience because you'll need to leave it to set. This cake combines the damp squidgyness of chocolate cake with a heavenly mousse, followed by cream and strawberries. Be warned though, even the most ardent chocoholics would find it a challenge to polish off a piece after a big dinner.
Double chocolate torte (from Smitten kitchen)
For the cake
200g semi-sweet chocolate (or you can just take half dark, half milk like I did)
150g unsalted butter
5 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 packet of baking powder
150g plain flour
For the mousse
100g unsalted butter
4 large eggs, separated
2 small tubs of whipping cream
200g semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
Fresh strawberries or raspberries
Preheat the oven to 160°. Grease and dust your springform baking tin with sugar.
1. Begin by melting the chocolate and butter in a metal pan over a low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and leave until lukewarm. Whisk in the sugar, followed by the eggs (one at a time) and blend well. Add salt, flour and baking powder and mix until smooth. Pour the batter into the tin and bake for about 35 mins until the middle of the cake just starts to rise. As the cake is so damp, a tester won't come out clean.
2. Leave the cake in the tin and place on a cooling rack.
3. To make the mousse, melt the butter in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water (the bowl should NOT touch the water). Whisk eggs yolks and 1 pot of cream in a small bowl and then gradually whisk this mixture into the butter. Whisk constantly over simmering water for around 5 mins. Remove the bowl from heat and stir in the chopped chocolate until melted.
4. Beat the egg whites and then add the suagr a little at a time until you have medium stiff peaks. Add a little of the egg whites to the chocolate mixture to lighten it then gently fold in the rest, taking care not to overblend. Pour the mousse over the cake in the springform and smooth the top. Leave to chill in the fridge for at least 6 hours and up to one day. To avoid temptation, perhaps it's better to go to a restaurant the night you make this cake!
5. When the mousse has set, gently transfer the cake onto a plate from the springform. Whip the cream until thick and cover the cake. Place the fruit on top in a semi-circle and prepare to be amazed.