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Monday 25 July 2011

7 Days of Baking: Day 4 - Wright's Chocolate Cake

OK, people, stand by to be stunned.

My confidence boosted by the positive outcome of the Wright's toffee cake, I set about planning something even more elaborate for the chocolate version. Conveniently, I'd been invited to lunch with a friend and former colleague and, having been informed that I would be providing dessert, I had all the additional motivation I needed to attempt something exceptional - and memorable - for the occasion.

The plan, in essence, was quite simple. I'd picked up a couple of tubs of Betty Crocker icing, and already had a couple of blocks of Willie's Cacao Venezuelan Black 100% Cacao chocolate lurking in my fridge, daring me to use them. I was a little nervous about icing another round cake, because the toffee cake ended up rather cock-eyed, but equally didn't want to give up on icing altogether. Thinking that the standard loaf would be easier to coat, I decided to break off some chunks of the chocolate to add to the cake mix, then cover the end result in the Betty Crocker chocolate fudge icing... Then, on a whim, and after the cake was baked, I cut the darned thing in half with my Lakeland cake leveller, and slathered on some of the vanilla icing to make it a sandwich... then, having completed the icing, I had another whim...  

But I'm getting ahead of myself...

  • Wright's Chocolate Cake Mix
  • Water
  • Cooking Oil
  • Willie's Cacao Venezuelan Black 100% Cacao Chocolate (about 1/4 block broken up)
  • Betty Crocker Buttercream Style Vanilla Icing
  • Betty Crocker Rich & Creamy Chocolate Fudge Icing
Preparation Time: Just over an hour

Tools Required:
  • Medium/Large Bowl (for the mixing)
  • Whisk (or electric mixer, if you're lazier than I am, also for the mixing)
  • Baking Tin (2lb loaf size - paper liners optional)
  • Measuring Implements (jug for the water, tablespoons or similar for oil)
  • Cooling Rack
  • Table Knife (for breaking up the chocolate and spreading the icing)
  • Grater
  • Foil (upon which to rest the cake, for ease of storage)
The Process:
I shan't bore you all by reiterating the same old instructions which are, in any case, very clearly stated on Wright's packaging. Instead, I shall focus on the embellishments. Taking one brick of Willie's Cacao chocolate, I broke up about 1/4 of the brick in rough, random sizes, ranging from tiny shavings to generous nuggets, which were then tipped into the cake mix and thoroughly stirred in. Regular chunks may have been fairer, but I rather liked the idea that one slice might have small morsels of this most decadent chocolate, while others... might end up with rather more. Never underestimate the power of expectation in your chocolate cake.

Or anything else.

I took the cake out of the oven at the 50 minute mark, since my experience with previous cakes suggested this was the point at which the cake was basically done, and any extra time would just harden the crust - not what I was aiming for with this particular dessert. This proved to have been a very good move, as the Lakeland leveller cut through easily and smoothly - thankfully and miraculously missing all the chocolate chunks!

The halves were allowed to cool briefly (5-10 minutes) before the vanilla icing was spread on the bottom half, the cake stuck back together, placed on a sheet of foil, and the chocolate fudge icing plastered munificently all over the whole thing.

And, for a fraction of a second, I thought my work was done.

Then I looked at the remaining Willie's chocolate, and remembered that I had a grater stashed away in one of my cupboards.

Yes, gentle reader, I grated some more chocolate over the top of the iced cake. When it comes to chocolate, I know neither shame nor restraint.

I really wish I'd thought to take photos of that cake because, by God, it was a thing of opulent beauty.

The Results:
Because, let's face it, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

When it was served up after a wonderful lamb lunch (with wine! How civilised!), straight from the fridge, it was cut into small slices but, frankly, with a chocolate cake that rich, even without the additional chocolate clumps, even without the smooth, delicious icing, large slices could have proved dangerously epicurean.

The cake was light, spongy, moist, and very thoroughly chocolaty in and of itself... Even in batter form, the scent of chocolate was very pleasantly strong. A single mouthful of this completed cake could contain smooth, rich icing in both Vanilla and Chocolate Fudge flavours, shavings of 100% cacao chocolate, and lavish quantities of solid chocolate. I had been worried that 100% cacao might be a bit much, and possibly detract from the overall experience, but I couldn't have been more wrong. On its own, the Willie's chocolate is too strong to consume in significant quantities, but buffered within the cake, and along with the icing, it was a perfect fit - it didn't overload the cake, and the cake didn't blanket the chocolate.

Despite the mix of different products - Wright's, Betty Crocker and Willie's - the sum of the parts was, if I do say so myself, mind-blowingly good. So much so, in fact, that I had to offer the remains to my host, the other guest and, upon my next visit home, to my parents (apparently I did no such thing... apologies, Mum & Dad. I'll do another one soon!), lest I try to live solely on its chocolaty, ambrosial goodness.

My host politely declined, pleading for her waistline (Hah! Sorry, Alex, but you are sooooo far from being fat), the other guest happily accepted with no such qualms, and my parents are always pleased to find a home for anything cake-like - the embellishments were, metaphorically speaking, the cherry on top.

Or, more literally, the icing on the cake. Ahem.

I would heartily recommend that you invent an occasion for which to bake this cake...  

...Just remember to share.

1 comment:

  1. I confess. I was the guest who made off with a large slab of this delectable consumable and it was FAB. It made two puds for two, the first was as it was, with clotted cream (well, nothing exceeds like excess). And jolly nice it was too. The next day it was heated for a few seconds the microwave and then served with fresh raspberries and double cream. Soooo good. The sharpness of the raspberries and the creaminess of the double cream combined with the sublime unctuousness of the various chocolates was truly breathtaking. If we weren't so civilized it could have led to domestic violence...