About my baking challenge

I discovered the joy of baking for the first time ever in 2013, shortly after my dear mum passed away from cancer. During 2014 I tried to bring these two things together in a positive way , have fun and raise some money for Ashgate Hospice in Chesterfield where my mum passed away. Throughout the year I tried out new techniques and recipes from time to time ... and then sold some of my bakes for charity in my workplace. Since then I have continued to bake with some ups and downs .. and this blog charts my baking experiences, good and bad!

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Happy birthday with an extremely chocolatey cake!

Yesterday was my darling husband's birthday; and he went out the evening before to a concert so I decided to make him a surprise birthday cake!! As I only started baking last August this is the first birthday of his that I had opportunity to surprise him like this :-)

Here's what I made ...

Mary Berry's Very Best Chocolate Cake

Serves: recipe says 6 (!) but I would say at least 12 !!

Taken from Lakeland website (with slight adaptations as I used sandwich tins instead of pushpans).

For the cake:
50g (2 oz) cocoa
6 tbsp boiling water
3 eggs
2 tbsp milk
175g (6 oz) self raising flour
1 rounded tsp baking powder
100g (4 oz) softened butter or baking spread (I always use butter!)
300g (10 oz)  caster sugar

For the icing/filling:
150g (6oz) dark chocolate broken into small pieces
150ml pouring double cream
3 tbsp apricot jam
1 small bar white chocolate (optiopnal) - I used white chocolate curls from the supermarket)

2 * 8" loose-bottomed sandwich tins

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/Gas 4
2. Grease 2 x 8" sandwich tins and line the bottom with baking parchment.
3. First measure the cocoa and boiling water into a large bowl, and mix well to make a paste. 
4. Add the remaining ingredients and beat again until combined. 
5.  Divide the cake mixture between the prepared tins. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 30 minutes until well risen and shrinking away from the sides of the tin. 
6. Cool in the tin for ten minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
7. For the icing and filling, pour the double cream into a saucepan and place over a medium heat until just simmering.
8. Remove from the heat, then add the chocolate and stir well until the chocolate is melted and the mixture smooth. Set aside and allow to become cold and almost set.
9. Spread the top of each cake with apricot jam. Sandwich the cakes with half the icing and spread the remainder on top. Shave the white chocolate into curls with a potato peeler and arrange over the top of the cake to decorate.

This was really easy - I think it was actually more or less Mary's tray bake in a different shaped tin! It also had a richer taste as the chocolate ganache was dark rather than milk chocolate, and there was more of it per slice - yum!

This whole baking experience was somewhat hilarious as I was quite late getting started, so I was really against the clock to get everything completed and out of sight before my husband came home ... rushing around madly washing equipment and utensils, and trying to wipe up crumbs from the worktop as I went along!! I finally shoved the last of the washed-up utensils hastily into its drawer and ripped off my apron ONE MINUTE before he walked in the house ...phew!!  Luckily despite the fact that I later discovered I had chocolate on my face (no doubt from licking the spoon!!) he didn't notice anything untoward, and was delighted the next morning when I presented the cake! Apparently it went down very well with his colleagues at work, and he saved a bit to bring home so I also got to sample it :-)

All in all a pretty good outcome ... good old Mary Berry has helped produce another winner!!



  1. Brilliant Pauline....sounds delicious and your hubby must have been delighted x

  2. Mmmmmmmmmm, chocolate cake!!!! Yes please! It looks so good, Pauline, I can even taste and smell it all the way here in 'Oz'.

    Please wish your hubby a very belated 'Happy Birthday' for me.

    Jennifer. x