This month the theme of the CCC was 'Surprise Surprise' where the cake could either contain a secret ingredient, a hidden design or any other kind of surprise we bakers could think of. I took my inspiration from the new series of the Great British Bake Off and went for a hidden design cake. I wanted there to be a design on each slice of cake as it was cut and went for a loaf shape as I thought it would be easier to achieve than with a round cake. The cake is dark chocolate with hidden vanilla stars. I also used this post for a Damien Hirst Battenberg as a guide for how to assemble for cake. I used a recipe adapted from the Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days book for the chocolate sponge but the method of assembly was very similar to that of the Damien Hirst cake and Jules, who made that cake, was more organised than me and she has some brilliant step by step photos of how to make such a cake.
For the vanilla sponge:
110g caster sugar
110g self raising flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the chocolate sponge
190g dark muscovado sugar
130g self raising flour
60g cocoa powder - use the good stuff to get a really dark cake, I used Green & Black's
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp liquid black food colouring - optional, I was hoping it would make the cake darker but didn't make much difference and I didn't want add too much in case it affected the flavour or texture of the cake
For the decoration:
Black ready roll icing
Thick glace icing - made with water and icing sugar
- Preheat the oven to 180C and make the vanilla sponge using the all in one method, i.e. all the ingredients in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Pour this into a lightly greased silicone shallow tray bake tin (18cm x 25cm) and bake for 20 minutes. Turn onto a wire rack to cool and then when cold cut out star shapes using a small star shaped cutter.You will need 8 or 9 stars for the cake and the leftovers are good for nibbling on or could be frozen for a future use.
- For the chocolate cake preheat the oven to 170C and grease and line a 2lb loaf tin. Beat the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Muscovado sugar tends to clump slightly so be sure to break up all the lumps. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then fold in the flour and cocoa powder, stir through the milk and food colouring if using.
- Pour half of the chocolate cake mixture into the prepared tin and then line up the stars vertically in the middle of the tin so you have a row of stars running down the middle of the cake. Pour over the remaining cake mix and smooth the top. Bake for 1 hour until the cake is risen and cooked through then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
The moment of truth came at the CCC event when the cake was cut into. I was a bit nervous as I haven't made anything like this before and didn't have time to practice it before Tuesday.
The good news as you can see from the photo above is that the stars shone through and everyone seemed to be suitably impressed. They also enjoyed the cake and so did I as due to the dark sugar and high cocoa content it wasn't too sweet. I adapted the recipe for the chocolate and coffee loaf for this cake and I think it works better this way.