I was recently approached by Waitrose to make a chocolate cake from a list of Ultimate Chocolate Recipes that they have compiled. They told me that there are 90,500 searches online every month for the phrase 'chocolate cake recipes'. We sure like our chocolate cake! Being a cake and chocolate lover there was no way I wasn't getting involved. Even when I heard about the additional element to the challenge... they were going to send me an extra surprise ingredient that I had to incorporate into the recipe somehow.
And this is the surprise ingredient I got - popping candy! Heston Blumenthal has brought popping candy back into our lives. I remember making his chocolate ganache cake a couple of years ago that has popping candy in the biscuit base. I had to go to a small local newasgents to buy sachets of it. It is also known as 'pop rocks' and I've seen it a lot more readily available recently in supermarkets. However, popping candy is very difficult to use in baking because the minute it comes into contact with any kind of moisture (i.e. cake batter, buttercream) it pops! So you can't mix it into batters or buttercreams. I did a lot of internet research on popping candy and then decided on the Waitrose Ultimate Chocolate Recipes I was going to use. I picked two recipes in order to incorporate the popping candy. Firstly I chose the Duchy Golden Ale & Dark Chocolate Cake, and secondly I chose the Dark Chocolate Truffles, which I was going to roll in the popping candy and decorate the cake with.
I started making the truffles by gently heating up 87ml Waitrose extra thick double cream. I used half the original recipe quantities as I only needed 8 truffles to top the cake, but you could double or even treble the recipe for extra truffles! I poured the warm cream into a bowl containing 112g plain chocolate. I left the chocolate to melt for a few minutes and then stirred well until the cream and chocolate were fully incorporated. I refridgerated the mixture overnight.
For the truffle covering I mixed about half the tub of popping candy with 1 heaped tbsp cocoa powder. As moisture causes the popping candy to pop, I decided the cocoa powder would be an extra barrier to reduce the level of popping before the truffles were eaten.
I scooped out the mixture and rolled it between my palms, then pressed and rolled it in the popping candy and cocoa powder mixture before placing on a chopping board covered in cling film. I recommend rinsing your hands in cold water between each truffle roll. Keeping your hands clean and cold gives the best results when rolling. I put them in the fridge to firm up again. You will hear some popping!
To make the cake the recipe called for Duchy Organic Golden Ale.
I heated 250ml of the ale in a pan with 250g butter until the butter was completely melted.
In a large bowl I mixed together 250g self raising flour, 30g cocoa powder, 1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda and 300g golden caster sugar.
In a seperate bowl I beat 2 eggs and added 125ml milk and 1 tsp vanilla extract.
I added the ale and butter mixture to the flour mixture and whisked well, then the egg mixture and mixed again. I poured the batter into two sandwich tins, using a ladle for an even split. I baked on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 25 minutes.
Whilst the cake was cooling I made the buttercream by mixing 200g butter and 400g icing sugar. When it came together I mixed in 25ml of the ale. I also melted 50g dark chocolate and mixed in only slightly to created a marble effect, but this was lost when I spread the buttercream on the sponge so I just drizzled some of the chocolate over the top of the cake instead.
After spreading on the buttercream and sandwiching the cakes together I placed eight of the truffles around the edges. They really gave the cake that extra wow factor!
This cake is deep, dark and delicious, with a fantastic exploding surprise! The sponge is really moist and reminded me of the Chocolate Guinness Cake I have made several times now. It went down a storm with my boyfriend and colleagues. I was very happy with it too, both in appearance and taste!
I am entering this cake into Jibber Jabber UK's November Love Cake challenge, this month's theme is 'In With A Bang!' and this cake certainly fits with it's exploding popping candy truffles!
Golden Ale & Dark Chocolate Cake with Exploding Truffles
- 187g Dark chocolate
- 87ml Double cream
- 30g + 1 heaped tbsp Cocoa powder
- Popping candy
- 275ml Golden ale
- 450g Butter
- 250g Self raising flour
- 300g Golden caster sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
- 2 Eggs
- 125ml Milk
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- 400g Icing sugar
To make the truffles gently heat up the double cream. Pour the warm cream into a bowl and add 112g of the darkn chocolate. Leave the chocolate to melt for a few minutes and then stir well until the cream and chocolate are fully incorporated. Refridgerated the mixture overnight or for several hours until solidMix the popping candy with the 1 heaped tbsp of cocoa powderScoop out the truffle mixture and roll it between your palms to make a ball, then roll it in the popping candy and cocoa powder mixture before placing on a chopping board covered in cling film. Put them in the fridge to firm up againHeat 250ml of the Duchy golden ale in a pan with 250g of the butter until the butter is completely meltedIn a large bowl I mix together the self raising flour, 30g of the cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and golden caster sugarIn a seperate bowl beat the eggs, milk and vanilla extractAdd the ale and butter mixture to the flour mixture and whisk well, then add the egg mixture and mix again. Pour the batter into two lined sandwich tins, bake on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 25 minutesMake the buttercream by mixing 200g of the butter and the icing sugar. When it comes together, mix in 25ml of the ale and 50g of the melted dark chocolate. Drizzle the remaining chocolate over the top of the cakeSpread the buttercream on the cakes, sandwich them together and place eight of the truffles around the edge
NB. I was supplied with the ingredients to make this cake by Waitrose, all opinions are my own.