Chocolate and Gingerbread Cake

Time: 2 Hours              Difficulty: Medium                Serves: 8                 Price: £11

I love Christmas, like really really love it- I mean who doesn’t (other than the Grinch). One of the best things about this magical time of year is the food. The baking, pigs in blankets and eating so much you can’t move. Ever since I was able to walk I have been obsessed with baking, and at Christmas this obsession doubles. You’re home from school for a few weeks, it’s too cold to climb trees, so naturally it’s time to cover yourself and your kitchen in flour in an attempt to make the perfect gingerbread man.

The best thing about this cake is that it’s a bit of a mess…(not unlike the person who made it) the icing isn’t perfect, and the piping would have got 0/10 but it doesn’t affect the flavour and that’s all that matters, its home baking at its finest- without fancy equipment, it’s a big chocolate cake that you can cut a slightly larger slice of than what’s socially acceptable.

Ingredients: 

Cake:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 175g (6 oz) self-raising flour
  • 175g (6 oz)caster sugar
  • 175g (6 oz) softened butter
  • 1½ level tsp baking powder
  • 40g (1½ oz) cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp olive oil

Icing:

  • White: Beat the butter, icing sugar and Vanilla extract.
  • Chocolate: Melt the milk chocolate, beat the butter and add the icing sugar. Fold the chocolate in.

Gingerbread:

  • 300 g plain flour.
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda.
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger.
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon.
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg.
  • 125 g unsalted butter.
  • 100 g soft light brown sugar.
  • 3 tablespoons golden syrup.

Method: 

Gingerbread: 

  1. Mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg all together. Put the butter, golden syrup and brown sugar in a pan on a low heat. Add the melted mix to the dry mix and using your hands kneed it so it’s all blended together.
  2. Once you’ve got it into a ball, roll it out on the baking paper. 2mm thick (thickness of a £1 coin) and use the Christmas tree cutters to make a couple of big and small Christmas trees. Once you’ve cut them put them on the baking tray (which has baking paper on) and pop in the oven at 180 degrees for 15-18 mins. Keep an eye on them, as you don’t want them too hard and crunchy.
  3. Once they are cooked take them off the baking tray and place on a cooling rack- make sure it’s completely cool before starting decorating. Once they are cool use a piping bag with a small funnel to pipe the icing onto the trees, although you can do any design you like, I’m a big fan of just outlining the trees, so that they don’t take away too much from the cake.

Cake:

  1. Whisk all the above ingredients together until smooth, the put in two buttered cake tins. Cook for 20 mins at 180 degrees. To test if the cake is cooked take a small sharp knife and put it right down to the bottom on the cake, if it comes out clean its cooked.
  2. Take the cake out the oven and allow to cool. Once its cooled use the chocolate icing on top of the bottom part of the cake. Sandwich it together and cover the whole cake in the chocolate icing, using a pallet knife to make sure its smooth and got good coverage. Then take the white icing and put it in the piping bag, for this I used the rigged pipping nozzle. Then pipe round the bottom and the top of the cake. For the stars roll out some white fondant icing, then using a star cookie cutter cut little stars and stick them to the chocolate icing.
  3. To finish off the cake pop the Christmas trees round the outside and a couple on the top, then sprinkle icing sugar on top of the cake to look like snow (I also added a couple of mini snowmen) Remember to take 100+ photos and then eat like you are Bruce Bogtrotter.

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