Today is the Fiance’s birthday, so I made cake. It is conveniently also a cake trial for the wedding, because it’s the first time I’m using the biggest cake tin, and obviously I was a little nervous that it would sink in the middle, form a thick crust, fail to cook all the way through or become leathery.
There was no need to fear. My chocolate raspberry port cake recipe is apparently faultless, and this morning I brought him cake in bed for breakfast, and then ate some too, and was so massively full I hadto pull some of the icing off in order to finish it. It was yummy! Soft, moist, slightly sticky, with a distinct raspberry port flavour… this is making up the largest, bottom layer of our wedding cake.
So, do you want the recipe yet?
It’s very simple, but requires 3 bowls – well, 2 bowls and 1 Henry (pyrex measuring jug). The quantities here are for a 4-egg cake, which makes a fairly sizeable 11inch cake. For the wedding, we’re making 2 11inch cakes and sandwiching them together with raspberry jam. The result will be immense.
First, preheat your oven to 165 degrees C, or gas mark 3. Grease and line an 11inch cake tin or very deep smaller cake tin (or break cake mix into two halves and use standard 7 or 8inch cake tins!).
Separate 4 eggs, whites into one bowl, yolks into the other.
Into the yolks bowl, add 12tbs sugar and combine. Also add 12tbs flour.
Into the whites bowl, add 4tbs of sugar and whisk using an electric whisk or hand whisk and designated minion.
It should end up pretty thick, but not quite merangue.
In your ‘Henry’, place:
200g dark chocolate, smashed up using a rolling pin
150g margarine or butter
2 full port glasses of port
2 pureed punnets of raspberries (or equivalent amount of raspberry jam)
Boil some water in a kettle and half-fill a pan. Stand Henry in the pan – the water should come approximately halfway up the side. Any higher and you risk water getting into your chocolate and curdling it as it melts. Put the hob on and try to keep the water simmering lightly, occasionally stirring the chocolatey mixture until it all melts and combines to make a thick, goopy sauce in a beautiful strawberry-brown colour. Use willpower not to just mange.
Combine all bowlfuls of ingredients, making sure to fold the whites in carefully. I usually add them last, as it makes nice swirly patterns.
I can’t remember how long I baked this cake for, as I work on “cake instinct” rather than a timer, but I’m guessing about 50 minutes – it was a low heat and the centre of the oven and rose quickly, then took a while to solidify. When it was done, the top looked all bubbly and was springy to the touch even at the centre. This cake doesn’t crack like most chocolate cakes do.
I cooked my cake in a tin with a removable base. Thus, when it came out, I let it cool for 5 minutes, then eased the sponge off the tin edges using a butterknife and released the frame so that the sides detached from the base. I then turned the cake upside down onto a plate, lifted off the base and gently peeled off the baking paper.
At this stage you can see if the middle is done or not by whether it looks and feels like sponge cake or is a bit too gooey. It’s not absolutely too late to whack the whole thing back in the oven if undercooked.
Now, assuming your sponge is all perfect and yummy, this is the moment to paint it with raspberry jam. The warm cake causes the jam to melt slightly, increasing it’s spreadability.
We used 500g of Sainsbury’s ready roll icing. This rolls out a bit thinly, and for the wedding cakes I’ll be using a lot more so that I can roll it more thickly for a smoother finish.
I rolled it out on a lightly icing sugared surface and draped over the sponge, then going round the edges, trimming and fitting using a clean butterknife (so as not to get jam all over it).
The wedding cake version will be twice as tall (two sponges stuck together) and have ribbon round the bottom edge (which is also helpful for concealing any mistakes you made at that point).
We cut two pretty generous slices – about as much around the circumference as you would for a big piece of ordinary-sized cake and I couldn’t even finish mine: it was HUGE. And yes, absolutely delcious, especially covered in the raspberry jam.