A few weeks ago my dad turned 60. Many would view this as an excuse to party and celebrate, but my dad loathes being the centre of attention. Knowing he would hate a surprise party, we decided to opt for a simpler affair and took him out to lunch instead. Behind his thinly veiled protests that he didn’t want to do anything lay an actual excitement at getting to spend time out with his immediate family. If there was any doubt as to his desire to mark the occasion, his incessant talking since about how much he enjoyed it enough to put that to rest.
Amidst all his protestations, I did manage to get him to decide on a cake. In fact, the cake was the one thing he agreed to with no hesitation. His cake choices are usually fairly predictable: either sponge or mudcake, but mostly mudcake. I couldn’t even feign surprise then when he asked for a mudcake.
The recipe I used is one I reserve for special occasions as it’s a comparatively expensive cake to make. I made it for an order once: the 35cm version has a whopping 2 and a half kilos of chocolate in it. So when I say this cake is chocolate heavy, I really mean it. But the result is completely worth it.
This birthday cake was made on a much smaller scale, so the chocolate amount is on the smaller side. You know it’s rich when 600g of chocolate is considered small. Then there’s the mound of butter and brown sugar in there as well. It’s certainly not the kind of cake to chomp on if you’re on a health kick.
One thing to keep in mind is to let the cake cool completely once it’s baked. When it first comes out of the oven it often has a massive cracked dome, but it sinks back to a flat (albeit still cracked) surface upon cooling. The cracking and the thick sugary crust is completely normal — I usually cut off the very top of it to make it flat then invert the cake.
Dad insisted on keeping the cake simple, and as I was crazy busy with work sticking to the request was made a little easier. I covered the whole lot with a whipped dark chocolate ganache. Because at this point, what’s a little more chocolate added to the mix?
And around the outside I added a simple white chocolate collar. This is achieved by drizzling melted white chocolate onto a large strip of acetate, then wrapping it around the cake before it has the chance to set. If you temper the chocolate as I did, you need to move quickly. But this really quick effort can transform the sides of the cake from plain to something a bit different.
The cake itself is a really fudgey mudcake that tastes part cake and part fudge brownie. Dad absolutely loved it. It’s well suited to serving with something light, like whipped cream or ice cream. The fruit is also a great way to cut through all the richness. My dad raved about how good it was with vanilla ice cream, while Cameron demolished it with my home made peanut butter ice cream. I just loved it alongside the strawberries.
Here’s how you can make this cake yourself. It’s worth mentioning that we don’t like boozy cakes, so I subbed the coffee liqueur for a mix of coffee essence, vanilla essence and water. Your options are completely open for this one.
|Dark Chocolate Mudcake
|395g (12.5oz) unsalted butter
625g (1.25lb) dark chocolate
1 1/2 tbsp instant coffee
1 cup (250ml/8.75fl oz) water
1 cup (200g/6.5oz) dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 1/2 cups (225g/7.25oz) plain flour
1/3 cup (50g/1.5oz) self raising flour
3 free range eggs
1/3 cup (80ml/2.75fl oz) coffee flavoured liqueur
Whipped dark chocolate ganache
Whipped dark chocolate ganache