Sunday, 17 July 2011

Chocolate Mud Cake with Ganache Topping

We've been rushing around like mad things for the last week, with our normal routine thrown out of the window. Spare time completely disappeared - or, when I had it, I was too tired to do anything - so I have only been putting basic meals on the table, and have had no time for baking.

In place of my home baked cakes, cookies and desserts, I actually had to buy stuff from the supermarket! The things bought ranged from Tesco's decorated cupcakes at 4 for £1 to Waitrose de-luxe cookies at nearly 50p each. At the bottom end of the market I think the prices are cheaper than baking myself, but the quality is very variable. The decorated cupcakes were all air and no substance, in both the sponge and the buttercream, and they were very sweet too, whereas a chocolate chip brioche at a similar price was delicious, and well worth the money. When you get into the de-luxe ranges, I'm not sure whether it's cheaper to buy or home bake, but the quality is usually better than the cheaper bought goodies, and I'm guessing the price differences are marginal. I think the biggest difference is that the shop bought stuff contains a bit less of the expensive stuff than I'd use at home - less chocolate chunks and nuts in the cookies, for example

Both my son and I happened to have birthdays in the last week, and I was quite sad that I couldn't bake anything special on the right day for him (not so bothered by my own birthdays anymore - I'd rather stop counting them!). I spent most of my birthday in hospital A & E with my mother, which is probably appropriate as she spent the day of my birth in a hospital with me! Poor Mum is finding old age hitting her all at once, with bits of her body breaking down in rapid succession over the last year or so. It wasn't a fun way to spend a birthday, although there were a lot of good looking male doctors around to please my eyes!

Fortunately it's a quieter weekend, with medical duties on hold until Monday, so I had time to bake a shared birthday cake yesterday. I used this recipe from Australian Women's Weekly,  for a Chocolate Mud Cake. I used a slightly bigger baking tin, one that was 20cm square, and found the cake cooked in 1 hour and 25 minutes. The ganache split - I have a feeling what the Australians call thickened cream has something like flour or gum in it, which may stabilise it when used in ganache. I managed to rescue my ganache by adding a couple of tablespoons of sifted icing sugar, then beating like a mad thing with a rotary whisk for several minutes. Not sure this would work every time, but it saved the day here! Anyway, the fuss over the ganache meant I didn't use it as suggested in the recipe - I just spread it on top of the cake and threw on what I could find in the way of cake decorations. There wouldn't have been enough candles  in town to put on the number needed for the two of us!

I was worried that I had overbaked the cake as it looked quite dry on the outside, but cutting it open revealed the dense moist centre one associates with mud cakes. The texture wasn't really cake-like at all - more like a slightly lighter version of the fudgiest kind of brownie. Despite the amount of sugar this cake was not too sweet - the large amount of dark chocolate and additional cocoa balanced the sugar quite nicely.

Overall, a successful cake, but I wouldn't use the proportions of cream and chocolate given in the ganache recipe again. If I made it for anything other than a birthday celebration I'd probably use a fudge frosting rather than one with fresh cream, but this was one occasion where I thought the CT could forget his diet for a day or two and have a fat laden treat!

13 comments:

Foodycat said...

Yeah, Australian thickened cream has gelatine or guar in it. You can't whisk it, which is why this is a glaze not a whipped ganache.

Interestingly, I used to make an AWW mud cake regularly - they've tweaked the recipe. It used to be 150g chocolate, 2 eggs, 1/3cup of the water was replaced with whisky and there was a smaller proportion of SR flour.

snowy said...

It looks delicious, Suelle, and a belated 'Happy Birthday' to you and CT.
I find that the recipes from AWW work well, but have had the odd blip with the ingredients. I usually use your recipe for topping with chocolate cakes, but sometimes use a fudge icing.
Hope your Mother feels better soon.

Suelle said...

Thanks Foodycat - as I thought!

There are several mud cake recipes on the website, including the one you mention, which is also in the 'Cakes and Slices' book I have (you too, probably).

Foodycat said...

Yes - that is the book I have!

C said...

It looks delicious, a really celebratory birthday cake - Happy belated Birthday to you and CT.

I generally find the AWW good too, and some interesting flavour combos sometimes too.

Hope your mother's health improves and you get a little more 'me time' back!

Dom at Belleau Kitchen said...

Love the look of that cake. I adore that stodgy chocolatey type cake pie thingy. Happy birthday to you and your son and get well wishes to you dear ma!! Xx

celia said...

Yes, our thickened cream has a thickening agent in it, it's not just straight cream or super-rich cream. I'm glad you were able to make the mud cake work though, and the stars look gorgeous! Happy belated birthday!

Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) said...

That looks like an incredible cake! I think it actually look moists - no worries about overbaking it here - and so intensely dark!!

Chele said...

Happy belated birthday's to you and your son. What a lovely looking cake ... bang goes my diet ... again! Lol

Joanna @ Zeb Bakes said...

What a pretty cake. I haven't made any decent cakes for ages and what is that I see below..... Chocolate and Apricot Bundt.... ooh ooh ! I shouldn't... yes I should...

Hope your Mum is doing ok, take care Suelle! Joanna

Suelle said...

Thanks for all your good wishes. Mum no longer needs daily medical attention and we were able to go out for the birthday lunch we missed last week!

Choclette said...

Sorry to hear about your mother Suelle, it sounds very stressful for all concerned. Belated good wishes for your birthday and glad your son got to have a treat and it certainly looks a treat. I've not made a mud cake yet - something else to be remedied! Interestingly, my CT and I also both have birthdays in July.

Indie.Tea said...

What a gorgeous, gorgeous cake! It looks all dense and delicious, a bit like a brownie.
Love the star decoration.