This decadent little cake appeared rather impulsively one Friday afternoon after a long day of work and a little stress. It was a true 'procrastibake' - along the lines of , 'I have so much to do, so I really need to make a chocolate cake right now'.
That moment of craving led to a yummy, moist, very chocolatey keeper of a cake, which is also very versatile as a cake on its own, or filled and topped with anything you like. Whipped ganache inside and more ganache on top is also quite nice when chocolate and more chocolate is what you really want.
I really love blueberries combined with chocolate - not only delicious but so pretty together. And a little lavender, gathered from between the winter roses, gave another lovely purple hue to this sweet little cake.
And a final little touch - a sprinkling of liquorice salt. This gorgeous icelandic salt made by Nordur is amazing. Reminiscent of dutch liquorice diamonds and so nice on chocolate. Not essential but if you can get your hands on some, so worth a try.
For the cake:
150g unsalted cultured butter
50ml vegetable oil ( I use grapeseed oil )
200g dark muscovado or brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs (about 60g each) - at room temperature
150g plain all purpose flour (preferably organic)
50g white spelt flour
50g dutch processed cocoa
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder ( I use double acting)
1/4 teaspoon bicarb. soda
175ml buttermilk, at room temperature
For the blueberry cream cheese frosting:
150g cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons freeze dried blueberry powder
3 teaspoons lemon juice
50g unsalted butter, softened
100g pure icing sugar
(make an extra half quantity if you are using the smaller cake tins)
Milk chocolate ganache:
150g milk couverture chocolate
150ml thickened cream
a good pinch of liquorice salt (Nordur) - optional
1 punnet fresh blueberries, washed
Fresh lavender flowers (unsprayed)
a good pinch of liquorice salt (Nordur) - optional
To make the chocolate cake:
Grease and line two round cake tins with baking paper. You can use either two 8 inch round cake tins for a flatter two layered cake, or two 6 inch round cake tins for a tall four layered cake.
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees celsius, fan forced.
Sift together the flours, cocoa, baking powder and bicarb soda. I like to add everything in a bowl and use a whisk to mix it together first before sifting. That way everything is well blended.
In a stand mixer, beat together the butter, oil, vanilla, salt and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add in the eggs one at a time, making sure the first egg is fully incorporated into the butter mix before adding the second.
Remove the bowl from the stand mixer, and then fold in the flour mixture, alternating with the buttermilk until you have a smooth mix. You want everything to be just combined but not overworked.
Divide the mixture between the two cake tins and bake them in the centre of the oven for 30minutes for the smaller tins, and 20-25 minutes for the larger tins. Check the cakes along the way, including about 5 minutes before you expect them to be ready. They are done when they are springy to touch and just cooked in the centre. A wooden skewer poked in the middle should come out cleanly with only a few moist crumbs.
Cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning the cakes out onto a rack.
To make the cream cheese frosting:
Beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Sift the icing sugar and add it to the mixture along with the blueberry powder and lemon juice then beat until nice and fluffy.
Note: Extra icing sugar may be needed to gain the correct texture.
To make the ganache:
Heat the cream either in a pot on the stove over low to moderate heat, or in a microwave safe bowl in the microwave until just starting to boil. Take care using the microwave as sometimes the cream can bubble and spit.
If you are not using callets or buttons, break the chocolate into smaller pieces and place in a bowl.
Pour over the hot cream and blend the two together until smooth. Allow to cool to room temperature.
To assemble the cake:
If using a smaller cake tin, halve each cake horizontally so you have four layers in total.
Spread the cream cheese frosting between the cake layers and over the top and sides of the cake if desired.
Spread the ganache over the top of the cake and allow it to drip down the sides.
Decorate the top of the cake with fresh blueberries and lavender flowers.
I like to sprinkle over some liquorice salt (Nordur) for added texture and a delicious flavour contrast.
This cake keeps very well in the fridge. Just bring it to room temperature before eating to regain some of its chocolatey softness.
For a really chocolatey cake, try filling the chocolate cake layers with whipped chocolate ganache.
Make a ganache using 250g of dark couverture chocolate and 300ml of thickened cream. Sometimes the dark chocolate will cause the mixture to separate. If this happens add a little cold cream and stir again until blended and smooth. Set aside a third of the ganache for the top of the cake. Cool the remaining ganache and when it is just starting to set and thicken, whip it until it is just fluffy. You will need to work quickly to spread it between the layers before it hardens.
If the whipped ganache separates, heat it again gently until just runny and add a little cold cream before mixing it into a smooth emulsion - and start the process again.