I’ve just come home from my trip to New York.
Well no, that’s a lie. I came home a long time ago but have only just woken up from crashing on the sofa.
I look an utter mess. My make up is clinging to my face in places but has mostly been rubbed off during my snooze (and my many unsuccessful attempts at sleeping on the plane.) My hair is dirty and hanging lank in a messy ponytail. Basically, I need a bath and my bed. My living room has become my bedroom since I eagerly opened my suitcase to give my family sweets from across the pond. All my purchases lay strewn across the sofa from my little ‘look at my new clothes’ fashion show.
Even though I really should be showering and making myself fit for human contact, I really wanted to share this recipe with you before Valentines. I am not a believer in Valentines. For me, it’s just another excuse for presents and another day in the year I stand in a shop thinking ‘what do I get this guy?’ Not that I have a guy this year.
However, I do believe in baking. And I (usually) believe in sharing. I like chocolate and cake. Put them together and I’m in love. Add in some boozy strawberries and the whole dish is brought to life by adding a bit of freshness to that dense gooey sponge.
I wanted to do a simple and easy recipe this Valentines day because you don’t want to be stressing out preparing a menu fit for a Michelin star chef. Bits of butter clinging to your hair. That’s not sexy. Or is it?
Ingredients – makes one 8 inch cake
- 200g unsalted butter
- 200g dark chocolate
- 4 eggs, separated
- 200g caster sugar
- 1 tbsp. brandy
- 200g hulled strawberries
- 2 tbsp. icing sugar
- 1 tbsp. vodka
- squeeze of lemon
Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees C. Butter the sides and base of an 8 or 9 inch springform (loose bottom) cake tin.
Place the butter and chocolate into a medium-sized bowl. Place this over a pan of simmering water to melt (make sure the bottom of the bowl isn’t touching the water.) Separate the eggs so that you have 4 egg whites and 4 egg yolks. Place your egg yolks into a medium bowl and whisk in half of the caster sugar until the mix is pale.
Place the egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer and begin to whisk on medium until frothy (or you can use an electric whisk.) Add in the other half of the sugar in three additions, until the meringue is firm and holds its shape.
Take your melted butter/chocolate mix off of the stove. Stir in the brandy. Pour this into the egg yolk mix and whisk together. Take a large spoonful of your meringue and place it into the chocolate mix. Beat this together using a spatula. Don’t worry about knocking the air out, this is just to thin the chocolate mix so that it’s easier to fold in the meringue later.
Add in the rest of the meringue and fold gently together, keeping as much air in as possible this time. Once the meringue is folded in, pour the cake mix into your prepared tin and bake for 30 minutes.
Now you should start macerating your strawberries. Cut your hulled strawberries into quarters. Place your strawberries, icing sugar, vodka and lemon juice into a bowl and mix together. Leave to macerate for a maximum of 1 hour before serving.
When your cake is baked, a tester should come out covered in moist crumbs when inserted into the centre of the cake. Leave to cool in the tin. Once cool, unclip the ring and place on a plate ready to serve.