chocolate passion cake
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Chocolate cake with passion fruit butter icing is more than just a cake; it’s the perfect celebration gateau. Buttercream made with fresh passion fruit puree, super-easy Samin Nosrat’s midnight chocolate cake recipe and whipped chocolate cream frosting – this cake is about the taste not just the looks.
Cakes in summer are easy: blueberries folded into mascarpone, raspberry buttercream or indeed raspberry everything, it’s light and joyous, sunny and fruity. A Pavlova or a cream roulade, angel food cake or strawberry and cream sponge – it could be a birthday every week and I would not run out of inspiration. What to do about them in winter? There are no berries, or rather buying the tasteless, air-flown fruit from South America should not be an option. Chocolate is always well-received but a chocolate cake with chocolate filling and chocolate frosting is too much chocolate by two thirds for me (yes, I know it’s me who’s weird; so there).
All this refers to EDIBLE cakes, as opposed to VISIBLE cakes. The latter are all over the media of course; I actually know someone who professionally paints cakes; she’s an artist, no question about that. But visible cakes are just a pretty face: beauty only icing deep, form over substance, colourings far more important than flavourings. Cake base needs to by sturdy and cuttable; the icing rolls out like artificial lawn, the frosting must be malleable like putty. Who cares what it tastes like? It’s only there to be photographed and ooohed and aaahed over.
What I don’t get is why they even bother to make those artworks edible (in the general sense). Why not use plaster, papier-mâché, play-doh or Styrofoam? Or carve them out of wood and sprinkle with powdered bark for the more environmentally oriented. The eating of those installations is certainly an afterthought and more often than not surplus to requirements.
I do edible cakes. Devourable, noshable, lick-the-plateable cakes. They might not go viral on sight – though I do make an effort to make them half presentable - but they would, if I could upload taste. So for this February birthday boy I came up with a chocolate base (naturally) filled with passion fruit buttercream (it’s sort of seasonal) and frosted with whipped chocolate ganache (ah well, chocolate was a request). So the combination of ingredients makes it: passion chocolate cake? chocolate passion cake? passionate cake? You tell me.
The wonderful Samin Nosrat provided the ridiculously easy, sureproof (unless you drop it or something), squidgy and wonderful cake base recipe. I did the rest turning it into a celebration gateau. The great thing is though that you can ignore my fancy efforts, the creams and the frostings and bake a wholly satisfying chocolate cake for any ordinary weekend.
chocolate passion cakeServings: 12-14Time: about 2 hours
- For the cake:
- 255g plain flour
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 55g unsweetened cocoa powder
- 300g sugar
- 125ml groundnut oil
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 350ml boiling water
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- For the chocolate cream frosting:
- 300ml double cream, chilled
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- 60g dark chocolate chips
- For the buttercream:
- 6 passion fruit
- 115g (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 250g (2 cups) icing sugar
- 1 tbsp. milk
- icing sugar, rose petals or pink food colouring powder, cocoa powder for decorating (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. Butter two 20cm round cake tins and line their bottom with parchment.
2. First prepare the ganache for the whipped chocolate cream as it will need to chill in the fridge for as long as possible; it can easily be prepared on the previous day. Bring 150ml of the cream with the tablespoon of sugar almost to a boiling point. Pour it over the chocolate chips in a large bowl. Stir to melt and chill the ganache in the fridge.
3. For the cake, sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, cocoa and sugar together into a large bowl; don’t skip this step, as cocoa tends to lump.
4. In a smaller bowl stir together the oil, vanilla and boiling water.
5. Gradually whisk the oil mixture into the dry ingredients until smooth. Whisk in the eggs; the batter will be very runny.
6. Divide it between the prepared tins, tap the tins against the worktop to remove air bubbles and transfer to the oven, on the middle rack. Bake for 25-30 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Cool in the tins.
7. While the cakes are cooling make the buttercream. Scoop the flesh out of halved passion fruit and pass it through a sieve or a food mill with medium sieve, to get rid of the pips.
8. Beat the butter with about three quarters of the icing sugar starting from low speed, turning up to high, for about 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Beat on low speed gradually adding the passion fruit juice, then add the milk. Add the remaining icing sugar and beat briefly on high speed until the buttercream is smooth and fluffy.
9. To make the chocolate cream frosting, stir the remaining cream into the ganache – make sure both are really cold – and whisk by hand or with a handheld mixer to soft peaks, don’t overbeat.
10. To assemble the cake, turn the bases out of the tins and peel off the parchment. Spread the buttercream over the cake base and invert the other onto the buttercream; peel the other parchment off.
11. Pile the chocolate cream over the top of the cake and spread it with an offset spatula, pushing the cream onto the sides of the cake as well. Smooth the top with a bench scraper if you have one or a clean palette knife.
12. To decorate, grind the rose petals with icing sugar in a pestle and mortar (or add food colouring of your choice to the sugar). Sift the pink sugar and/or cocoa powder over the cake through a stencil.