I love Christmas. I adore everything tinselly and trashy about it. I embrace all that the food-marketing man throws at me, as if Jesus himself had decreed that red cups, real glass Coca Cola bottles, Chocolate Oranges, large tubs of strong cheesy smelling snacks, chocolate shaped bearded old-men and Twiglets are all essential to celebrating his birthday. Add a Babysham to this smorgasbord and I’m like a pig in mud. Or rather a Holly in fizz.
There does come a point though, deep in the calorific excesses of Christmas where we all say enough is enough and pronounce that We. Can’t. Eat. Another. Thing. If you’re anything like me this basically signals a 3 hour amnesty from opening the fridge or the chocolate tin. Come 11pm, you’ll be eating the Chocolate Brazil Roses chocolates as a palate cleanser, between your turkey sandwich and the remnants of the trifle, with the best of them. You see, until it’s all gone from the house, you can’t relax. It’s just part of the Christmas rules.
Other Christmas rules include:
– Regressing to your childhood casting role. You may be altruistic to the core now, but if you were a spoilt brat in your teens, you can bet it’ll come bubbling back to your surface come the festive holiday. Go with it. It’s a once yearly treat.
– Promising yourself you’ll open your presents slowly, thus savouring and spreading the enjoyment throughout the day, then finding yourself surrounded by packaging and paper by 9am and a little disappointed at how much smaller the present pile looks, post the opening flurry.
– In spite of wanting and possibly needing to diet after Christmas, to firstly eat up every last cream related, chocolate and cheesy morsel in the house, just to relieve yourself of the temptation mind.
This cake is my helpful attempt at finding a place for all that festive chocolate and cream, whether it came as a selection box or a tin of Quality Street, or Roses or dare I say it, the non-traditional choice of a box of Celebrations. Your tinned choice of chocolate says an awful lot about you. But that’s for another day.
Ingredients for the cake:
– 225g self raising flour
– 2 level tsp baking powder
– Pinch of salt
– 175g Stork margarine
– 175g caster sugar
– 75g dark chocolate (or frankly whatever Christmas chocolate you have knocking about- just not with bits in it please)
– 1 tbsp whole milk
– 4 eggs
Ingredients for the filling:
– 200mls double cream
– Lots of Christmas chocolates chopped into 2cm pieces
Ingredients for the icing and decoration:
– 200ml double cream left over from trifle making activities
– 200g Christmas chocolate for melting – pref without any nuts or bits in it. Chocolate orange would work, or a Dairy Milk slab.
– Lots of Christmas chocolates, from coins to after eights to chocolate oranges
Preheat the oven to Gas 5/190C and check the rack is in the middle of the oven. Spray two 20ish cm tins with cake release spray or grease and line. Set aside. Melt the chocolate and milk in a bowl in the microwave and set aside to cool. Sieve the flour, salt and baking powder into a large bowl. Take another large bowl and cream together the Stork and sugar with an electric handheld mixer until lighter than when you started and creamy in appearance. Then add the cooled, melted chocolate and the eggs and mix again. Fold in the flour mixture with a metal spoon and divide between the two tins. Bake for about 20 minutes until well risen and a toothpick comes out of the centre of the cake clean. Turn the cakes out onto a wire rack and leave to cool.
Make the ganache by boiling the cream in a small pan then adding the finely chopped chocolate and stirring madly until it’s smooth and combined. Set aside to cool and thicken. If you’re impatient this can be speeded up in the fridge.
Whip the cream to medium peaks with a handheld electric mixer and add the chopped Christmas chocolate – this is the surprise element of the cake if you hadn’t already guessed. Pop one of your cake sponges onto the serving platter/plate you’re using, then fill the centre of the cake with the whipped cream surprise . Add the top sponge.
When the ganache is almost set, use it to ice the cake using a knife to encourage it over the top and sides. Add various leftover chocolate bars to the top, so that it looks like a selection pack explosion. Serve with a smile and perhaps small plates. If there’s any left over remember to keep this cake in the fridge. Food poisoning should only come from turkey at Christmas, not cream cake.
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