Thursday, 14 July 2016

Chocolate Cake with White Chocolate and Mascarpone Buttercream

My son and I both have July birthdays, and we are both chocoholics, which makes decisions on birthday cakes very easy. What's not so easy is finding something new and 'special' to make each year. I was in the process of looking for this year's cake when this recipe from Dan Lepard popped up on my Facebook page. I still miss Dan's weekly column in the Guardian newspaper, so the fact that he has new recipes appearing occasionally on Australian Good Food is very exciting for me. Even though I'm not a big fan of white chocolate (neither eating it nor using it), this cake seemed just what I was looking for, so I was prepared to try white chocolate once more.

My first problem, after reading the recipe, was finding solid-based deep sponge tins. After finding only one brand in my local cookware shop, at £10 a tin, I went for a cheap supermarket brand. I bought 3 tins for less than £10 - my thinking, which proved correct, was that they weren't very deep, so I would probably need to make three layers, rather than two. Incidentally, another surprise, while shopping, was to notice that silicone bakeware has almost disappeared from the marketplace. I've never been a big fan of silicone for large cakes as the early examples were too flexible, and bulged in the wrong places, but  I thought those problems had been overcome. I didn't realise the trend had passed altogether!

The second problem was that the three cakes didn't rise very evenly, probably due to uneven heating. Although I was using the fan oven to cook all three cakes at the same time, two of the cakes were on the same shelf and quite near to the walls of the oven. These irregularities were overcome, when assembling the cake, by slicing an off-centre bulge off one cake, carefully positioning the bottom two cakes so that the overall effect was level, and choosing the best cake for the top layer.

Apart from that everything went smoothly, even though it was quite an unconventional recipe. I decided to use sunflower oil rather than olive oil, but that was the only change I made to the ingredients. Once the cake batter was made and divided between three tins, using scales for accuracy, they only needed 25 minutes in the oven.

I was really careful when melting the white chocolate for the buttercream, as I've always had problems in the past. I used Green and Black's White Cooking Chocolate, as it had the highest levels of cocoa solids of all the brands I could find. I put the bowl of chocolate over a pan of just boiled water and removed it when the chocolate was about 2/3 melted, so that it didn't overheat. I was also careful not to overbeat the mixture when adding the mascarpone and white chocolate to the basic buttercream, as mentioned in the recipe. The recipe made more than enough buttercream to fill and top the three cakes - I still had leftovers, even with the additional layer! Just to finish off, I topped the cake with a dusting of grated 100% cacao

I was very pleased with this cake; the cake layers were dark, rich, tender and very moist - everything you want in a special occasion chocolate cake! The buttercream didn't seem as sweet as I expected, possibly because of the addition of the mascarpone, and complimented the bitter notes of the cake very well. Green and Black's White Cooking Chocolate contains quite a lot of vanilla, and this additional flavour worked well in the buttercream too.

I'm sending this cake to July's We Should Cocoa event, hosted by Choclette at Tin and Thyme. Choclette also has a July birthday, as do many of her friends and family, so wants participants in this long-running event to just celebrate July with chocolate! Anything goes, as far as a theme is concerned, as long as it's celebratory, so my birthday cake should fit in well!


Snowy said...

This is a serious chocolate cake and looks delicious. Belated Happy Birthday. I still miss Dan's recipes too, so great to have a new one.

Choclette said...

What a stunner Suelle. And Happy Birthday to you. Yes, I to miss Dan's recipes, so well done for finding this one. I have the same problem with uneven bakes if I ever try and bake three layers - so annoying. Thanks for joining in with We Should Cocoa

Johanna GGG said...

that is spectacular - I love admiring layer cakes but always have problems making them. I too am not a fan of white chocolate but can see it would work here and looks great too