|Posted by me on October 25, 2016 at 5:50 AM|
Anyone that knows me, knows that I’m always up for a bit of a challenge, whether its jumping 855ft off the top of a very tall building or skydiving from 15,000 feet, if it grabs my attention then I will have a go…
A few days ago one of my lovely friends asked me for a recipe for a chocolate cake that her and her partner ate recently in the town of Ohrid in Macedonia. Unfortunately there were no online recipes to be found anywhere and nothing in my vast selection of cookery books either, so with a bit of Sherlock inspired investigating and the minimum of clues (in her words it was ‘fudgey/datey/nutty with layers of sponge and mousse and covered with chocolate!’) I have recreated the cake for her, I do rather like a challenge that I can sink my teeth into….quite literally!!!
Here is my version and unless you manage to get to Ohrid in Macedonia to enjoy a big fat slice and a cup of coffee for yourself, have a go making it yourself...it’s the only chocolate version on T’internet so enjoy, or whatever it is they say in the Baltic
What you need
For the cake
100g caster sugar
100g baking margarine- tub is best
100g self raising flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 medium eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
For the mousse
150g plain chocolate- finely chopped
60g caster sugar
180 mls milk
4 egg yolks
Gelatine sheets to set the equivalent of ¾’s of a pint of liquid. Depending on which brand you use this could be anything from 1 ½ -3 sheets, just read the back of the box to see how many you will need
90mls double cream
For the nutty date and chocolate layer
75g chopped hazelnuts, plus a tablespoon extra for decoration
75g ground almonds
220g pitted dates- if they feel hard pop them into some boiling water for 10 minutes to soften , then drain before using.
30g cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1-2 tablespoons of shredless orange marmalade (I used a fruity rather than bitter tasting marmalade), if you don’t have marmalade, sieved apricot Jam will work equally well.
For the ganache
150mls double cream
100g plain chocolate- finely chopped
Edible chocolate decorations to decorate
What you do
Start by making the cake, preheat the oven to 160c for a fan assisted oven or 180c for a regular oven and line the base and sides of a 2 pint loaf tin.
Place the caster sugar, eggs, margarine, flour, baking powder, and vanilla essence into a bowl and beat until smooth and creamy then tip into the prepared tin, bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes or until the cake is golden brown and firm to the touch. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
Once the cake is completely cool, slice it lengthways into 3 x 1cm thick slices ( slice the cake from the flat bottom not the top of the tin- the easiest way to slice is by popping the cooled cake into the freezer for 30 minutes to firm it up- discard the remainder of the cake- best discarded spread with some extra fruity raspberry jam and a sprinkling of dessicated coconut - ooh and a nice cup of coffee too )
Now make the date layer by whizzing the dates in a food processor until they are roughly chopped, add the cocoa powder, salt, ground almonds and hazelnuts and blitz again briefly, to form a firm dough. Roll out between two sheets of greaseproof paper until its 1 ½ cm thick. keep to one side until later.
Make the mousse layer by soaking the gelatine sheets in cold water until they are pliable then drain and reserve.
Place the milk into a small saucepan and bring to the boil then whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a medium sized bowl, pour the boiled milk over the top of the egg and sugar mixture, whisking all the time then return back to the milk pan and cook gently, whisking all the time until the mixture thickens slightly. DO NOT LET IT BOIL!
Once the custard is slightly thickened add the soaked sheets of gelatine followed by the finely chopped plain chocolate and stir until smooth, tip into a bowl and leave to cool but not set.
Whip up the double cream until it forms soft peaks then fold into the chocolate mixture- if by any chance the chocolate mixture has set just pop the bowl into the microwave for a few seconds to warm up slightly.
Take your two pint loaf tin and rinse it out with some cold water but don’t dry, then place a sheet of cling film in it, to line it- the water will help the cling film stick to the sides.
Place a layer of sponge in the bottom, followed by half of the chocolate mousse, another layer of sponge then the remainder of the mousse. Top with your last layer of sponge.
Spread the top layer of cake with the shredless marmalade or sieved apricot jam followed by the layer of date and hazelnut paste, trim to fit the sides then place the tin into the fridge for approximately 4 hours until the mousse is set.
Remove the cake from the tin and peel off the cling film, place onto your serving plate.
To make the ganache place the double cream into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Place the finely chopped chocolate into a bowl then pour the boiled cream over the top, stir gently and carefully so you don’t incorporate any air bubbles then leave to cool for 10-20 minutes until the ganache starts to thicken slightly.
Cover the cake with ¾’s of the ganache, smoothing it over the top and sides, leave the remainder to cool until its thick enough to pipe then pipe swirls or a rope design down the centre of the cake. Sprinkle with the remaining chopped hazelnuts and decorate with the chocolate decorations.