For Julie...

May this year has been a sad time in my household with the death of a good friend. Julie lost her long and tenacious battle with cancer earlier this month, and like all her friends we feel she has left a huge gap in our lives.

We all miss the fun loving Julie who was up for any adventure. She was famous for her love of chocolate in all forms, and was often caught out having a sneaky chocolate snack when she thought no one was looking.

So Julie this cake is for you - it's very chocolatety with a hint of berries which I know you would have loved. Wish you were still here to share it with all your friends.

Adapted from a recipe by Annabel Langbein

3 c self-raising flour
2 c sugar
1½ tsp vanilla extract
¾ c cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda, sifted
200g butter, softened
1 c milk
4 medium eggs
1 c boiling hot coffee

Raspberry Sauce
3 c raspberries - fresh or frozen
½ c water
½ c sugar or to taste

Chocolate Ganache
250 ml cream
250 g good quality dark chocolate

Marscapone Cream
200 g mascarpone
150 ml cream, whipped

Pre heat oven to 160°C. Grease the sides and line the base of a 30cm round cake tin or 2 x 20cm round cake tins with baking paper.

Sift flour, cocoa powder and baking soda. Place all ingredients in a bowl or large food processor and mix or blitz until the ingredients are combined and butter is fully incorporated. Pour mixture into prepared tin/ tins and smooth the top. Bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tin.

While the cake is cooking make the Raspberry Sauce. Place all the raspberry sauce ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 mins. Allow to cool and blitz with a stick blender or food processor. Refrigerate. For the Chocolate Ganache, place the chocolate and cream in a heat proof bowl over a double boiler and simmer on a low heat, gently mixing until the chocolate is just melted and combined with the cream. Set aside to cool.

To assemble - place the Marscapone in a bowl and lightly mix with a spoon. Add the whipped cream and fold until just combined - set to one side. Using a bread knife even up the top of the cake so it is flat, and then slice the cake horizontally once or twice for the layers. If you have made two smaller cakes you can combine them to make an extra tall 4 layer cake by slicing each in half.

Lay out the cake layers and spread each layer with the Raspberry Sauce to within 1 cm of the edge, excluding the top layer. Then spread the Marscapone Cream over the Raspberry Sauce on each layer to within 1 cm of the edge, excluding the top layer. Carefully stack the layers and finish with the top layer. Pour the Chocolate Ganache over the cake (re heat over the double boiler if it has thickened too much), and decorate with flowers or fresh raspberries dusted with icing sugar.

Serve with the left over Marscapone Cream and Raspberry Sauce.

HINT: I find it’s easier when assembling the cake to start with the bottom layer of your cake on your cake stand/serving plate, and then place each subsequent layer on the loose bottom of a cake tin. Top each layer with the raspberry and cream, then carefully slide the layer on to the one below finishing with the top layer.


 All Images © Deborah Aspray - Motif Lifestyle Images Ltd 2014


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