Chocolate and Raspberry Cakes

15 Jun

 

 

 

 

 

I had a lovely weekend back home in the North which gave me a chance to do quite a bit of baking. The wonders of mums’ kitchens and all the free ingredients and superfluous gadgets they have to offer! Steering clear of novelty egg separators and lemon squeezers (really, a good squish does the trick!), I decided to start off simple with some chocolate and raspberry cakes.

Delightfully rich and moist with a slight tang from the raspberries, I think they’re best after a day or two when the raspberries mellow and add a gooey, rich texture to the sponge and any kick from the fuit has turned sweet.

Working off the basics of a standard sponge recipe, I made a few changes such as replacing one quarter caster sugar with soft brown sugar to make something a little richer and less “fairy cake fluffy” and more indulgent and dense. I’m quite an ad-hoc cook but the following step-by-step guide should yield similar results:

Cakes:
75g white caster sugar
25g soft brown sugar
100g butter
75g self-raising flour
25g chocolate powder
2 medium eggs
Pinch of salt
Dash of vanilla essence
Handful of raspberries (fresh or frozen then thawed)

Frosting:
Icing sugar
Butter
Milk

  1. Cream the butter, vanilla essence and sugar together until pale and smooth.
  2. Leave the butter and sugar to one side whilst you break and whisk the two eggs.
  3. Sieve the flour and chocolate powder. I always sieve flour/chocolate powder twice to make sure there’s enough air in the cake mix so that it rises well and gives a good consistency when baked. (The easiest way to do this is to sieve it as you measure it out and then sieve again as you mix it in with the eggs and creamed butter and sugar, see below). Add a tiny pinch of salt to the flour.
  4. Take a metal spoon and fold the egg into the butter mix a little at a time, gradually adding the flour and chocolate powder as you go. Fold gently in a figure of eight so as not to knock the air out; it’s okay to take your time!
  5. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases, filling each a third of the way up. Place one or two raspberries on the top of the mixture then add another spoonful to each muffin case, taking the mixture to two thirds of the way up. Add a raspberry to the top of each.
  6. Place on the top shelf of a pre-heated oven at gas mark 5 (190 degrees) and bake for approx. 12 minutes. When done, place on a wire rack to cool.
  7. In the meantime, make the frosting. Weighing scales are just an unnecessary hassle here! Beat butter, a table spoon of milk (no more!) and sieved icing sugar together until it forms a stiff, white mixture which will stand in peaks. It always seems like so much icing sugar but just keep going! Add as much or as little of the frosting as you like to the cakes and top with a raspberry.

 

Chocolate and Raspberry Cakes

 

Tips:

  • Presentation: Take a look at the photo above or simply get creative! Pomegranate and strawberries also look very pretty with white frosting on a chocolate cake.
  • Make sure you don’t press the raspberries down in the mixture. They naturally sink a little when cooking, hence part-filling the cases first.

 

Alternatives:

  • For a more grown-up take, make the cake mixture as above but place in a cake tin no more than two inches thick, again placing the raspberries on the mixture. Bake for around 20 minutes to make a rich cake which is almost tort-like in consistency thanks to the raspberries. Serve with pouring cream or a dollop of crème fraiche and even more raspberries!

 

 Happy baking! x

 

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