Friday, 3 April 2009


any fan of chocolate wants to know how to make a marvellous chocolate cake...

I'm not that big on chocolate, however, since I feel I need some treats cake looms large on my cookery horizon. Wheat free flour is expensive and you run out all the time, it's also mostly rice flour as far as I can make out, so I keep rice flour around and mix it with other ingredients, making my own flour combinations. 

Gluten has some magic property that means it holds sugar and fat very well. It's a winning combination that most of us like the feel of, in the mouth. So, when you're making food without gluten you need to load up with something moisturising in another way - with cake that means icing, or syrups, or in this case a glorious ganache.

That's ganache that rhymes with panache - please don't start throwing in an accent at the end. Not that I'm pernickety.

That is ganache, not Ganesh. Ganache is a chocolate cream filling, Ganesh is an elephant faced Hindu god, not suitable as a cake filling, although I think he looks like he's enjoyed a few cakes.


chocolate cake

50g cornmeal
50g rice flour
100g ground almonds
heaped teaspoon baking powder
5 eggs
150g castor sugar
150g margarine or butter
50g dark chocolate (best use a chocolate with over 50% cocoa solids)

line cake tin - this is enough to make a sponge type sandwich cake using two 9" tins, or two 8" tins, if you want it to come out fatter

weigh out dry ingredients (cornmeal/flour/almonds) and set aside, stirring in the baking powder

melt marg (or butter) over low heat, adding chocolate broken into pieces into it, stir until chocolate and fat are mixed together and set aside to cool

whisk eggs using an electric whisk for one minute, slowly add sugar, making a thick frothy cream, which usually takes another minute

stir in the chocolate/marg mixture - use a spatula or metal spoon, and don't stir so much that you reduce the volume of the eggy froth

follow the chocolate mixture witht ej dry ingredeients, stirring in in the smae way, keeping the volume as high as possible

pour into the cake tins and cook at gas mark 6 for 20 minutes

the cake is cooked whe you stick a skewer in in, and it comes out clean

cool slowly on a rack in the tin - the cake is slightly delicate, so don't hurry to take it out of the tin

take one cake out of it's tin and put on a serving plate
spread the chocolate ganache liberally over this cake, so that it doesn't quite reach the edges
carefully place the other cake on top, lining the two cakes up, gently setlling it down, until the ganache spreads to the edges of the cake. dust the top of the cake with icing sugar


for the chocolate cream ganache

make once the cake has cooled
don't be in a hurry

double cream
100g dark chocolate
small cup of milk
vanilla essence (optional)

break the chocolate into pieces and melt over boiling water
heat the milk to just under boiling point
pour the hot milk into the melted chocolate, beating while you poor. the chocolate may get stiff and grainy, keep beating and stirring until you get a glossy mixture. you can add a few drops of vanilla at any point - beating them in too

set to one side to cool - don't let chocolate mixture get cold

whip the cream until it makes soft peaks. I prefer to do this with a mechanised hand whisk. If you use an electric whisk keep checking the consistency, so it doesn't get too dry. Once it's whipped fold in the cooled chocolate mixture. keep folding it in until the cream is all the same chocolate-y colour.

if your ganache seems a little runny, put it in the fridge for a while

when you have a ganache you can spread with a knife you know it's ready to use...

alternatives and subsitutions

for this chocolate cake you could use cocoa powder in place of some of the flour, it'll flavour and colour the cake well too. 

I'll get back to this later

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