Okay okay..... we've had enough indulgence recently, but birthdays have to be the exception to a bit more....... the diet can start next week.......
Cake is critical to any birthday celebration and in this case, the cake is extra special..... a real push-the-boat-out, chocolatey, fruity, slightly sticky delight. The recipient (kindly) declared it was the 'best birthday cake' he had 'ever had'..... 'a triumph!' Ahhhhhh.
Feeling creative, the intention was to make a flirt of a cake that would turn heads. Not over-perfect (I'm incapable of 'perfect'), but a bit of a looker with enough of a wow factor to show I had made a real effort. The result of my efforts is (if I say so myself) divine. It is not the sort of cake that you can knock up in a flash, but the effort required to make it is worth every luscious mouthful.
A classic combination of chocolate (dark and white) with raspberry, the flavours are combined and complimented in layered sponges, sandwiched and smothered with white chocolate ganache and decorated and drizzled with fresh fruit and a vibrant raspberry-pomegranate sauce.
Both sponges are made with melted chocolate (dark or white), moistened with ground almonds and greek yoghurt. The white chocolate-raspberry sponge is flavoured (and naturally coloured) with a goodly dose of freeze-dried raspberry powder (sourced from Healthy Supplies). The result is a perfectly fudgy cake with a slightly dense crumb........ sweet with a slightly tart, fruity backdrop....... each mouthful mingling in a delightful partnership of taste and texture.
The white chocolate ganache is literally and figuratively the icing on the cake. It is rich, creamy and incredibly luxurious. Slathered over the entire surface, it elevates the cake to a seriously decadent level......
And the sauce? What can I say? Made with juicy raspberries and pomegranate it is fresh, bright and contrasts the ganache with a slight sharpness to waken the tastebuds and liven the palate. Special indeed!
My only regret? The weather wasn't great and as a result, the photos don't show this cake at its best. I had to zip it out into the garden to get enough light...... no consideration of 'styling', but a case of grab the camera and snap! Oh well.... I can vouch for its deliciousness.
I am sending a couple of remaining slices over to Ness at Jibber Jabber for this month's Love Cake which for January is 'feeling fruity'. I know this doesn't exactly tick the 'healthy' box, but it's inclusion of freeze dried raspberry in the sponge, fresh raspberry and pomegranate in the sauce and the topping of fresh raspberries should hopefully allow its qualification.
I am also offering to Cook, Blog, Share with Lucy at Supergolden Bakes.
To a challenge that I haven't entered before but stumbled across: Bake Along Challenge with Resh at Daily Cuppa (all the way over in Malaysia), who this month has a 'chocolate' theme.
And finally to January's AlphaBakes with Ros at The More Than Occasional Baker (and Caroline Makes). This month's random letter is 'L'. This is clearly and most definitely a 'Layered' cake so I am sharing it as this month's entry.
Layered Dark & White Chocolate-Raspberry Cake with White Chocolate Ganache and Raspberry-Pomegranate Sauce (makes 1x 8 inch three-layer cake)
Dark Chocolate Sponge (2 layers)
130g dark chocolate
110g unsalted butter
95g ground almonds
175g gluten free plain flour blend (I used blend A from this post)
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1½ teaspoons GF baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
25g cocoa powder
235g golden caster sugar
2 large eggs - room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
100 ml milk
½ tablespoon white wine vinegar
135 ml greek yoghurt
White Chocolate & Raspberry Sponge (1 layer)
65g white chocolate
55g unsalted butter - room temperature
45g ground almonds
87g plain gluten free flour mix (I used blend A from this post)
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
¾ teaspoon GF baking powder
¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
pinch fine sea salt
8g freeze dried raspberry powder
115g caster sugar
1 large egg - room temperature
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
60 ml milk
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
70 ml greek yoghurt
80 ml water
1 tablespoon cornflour
65g caster sugar
110g raspberries (fresh or frozen)
seeds from ½ a pomegranate
White Chocolate Ganache
500g good quality white chocolate (I used Green & Blacks chocolate for cooking)
370 ml double cream
giant white chocolate buttons
chopped white chocolate
gold edible glitter
150g fresh raspberries
150g fresh raspberries
Sponges - For each mix :
- Base-line the cake tins with baking paper. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4.
- Melt the chocolate and butter together either in the microwave (medium setting - 30 second bursts - stirring between each), or in a glass bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir together until well combined and completely smooth. Set aside.
- Mix together the almonds, flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and cocoa or raspberry powder, making sure any lumps are completely broken down. Set aside.
- In a jug, mix together the milk and vinegar, stir and leave to stand for 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract until pale and beginning the thicken.
- Add the melted chocolate mixture and beat again.
- Add the milk mixture and yoghurt and beat again until smooth and well combined.
- Add the dry ingredients and fold until just combined. Be careful not to over-mix.
- Spoon into the cake tins and smooth the tops with the back of a spoon or spatula until even.
- Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Mix the water and cornflour in a saucepan until smooth.
- Add the sugar and fruit and gently heat, crushing the fruit against the sides of the pan with the back of a spoon and stirring until the mixture comes to a simmer.
- Stir and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes until the mixture becomes clear and thickened.
- Remove from the heat and push through a sieve to remove the fibre.
- Leave the sauce to cool completely.
White Chocolate Ganache
- Break the chocolate into a bowl.
- In a saucepan or microwaveable container, bring the cream to a simmer.
- Remove form the heat and pour over the chocolate.
- Leave to stand for 5 to 10 minutes and then stir thoroughly until the chocolate has completely melted and the ganache is smooth.
- Leave to cool at room temperature until the ganache has reached a thick spreading consistency (this may take a couple of hours).
To put together :
- Layer the cake sponges with a layer of ganache and some sauce (making sure you don't spread the sauce to the edge as this will dribble down the sides making it difficult to spread the ganache on the outside of the cake cleanly).
- Cover the cake with the remaining ganache, spreading evenly.
- Drizzle raspberry and pomegranate sauce over the ganache
- Decorate with white chocolate buttons, raspberries chopped chocolate and glitter.
- Serve with the remaining sauce.
This cake should be stored in the fridge, but brought to room temperature before eating.
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