Yes, we may be in this abominable lockdown, but Valentine's Day is coming which is the perfect time to bake a delicious, chocolatey cake to say 'I love you'.
The colourful bake is from Mich’s cookbook Everyday Bakes to Showstopper Cakes. Mich told us last Valentine's: "I shall be baking the Sweetheart Cake, probably decorated with rich chocolate ganache truffles for my husband." Lucky him!
Makes a 1 x 8-inch cake, Preparation time 30-35 minutes plus cooling, Cooking time 40 minutes
For the sponge
- 200g/7oz plain flour
- 150g/5oz golden caster sugar
- 150g/5oz soft brown sugar
- 50g/2oz cocoa powder
- 1 1⁄2 tsp baking powder
- 1⁄2 tsp salt
- 75ml/3fl oz sunflower oil
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 190ml/6 1⁄2fl oz whole milk
- 190ml/6 1⁄2fl oz coffee (2 shots espresso topped up with boiling water or 2 tsp instant coffee powder)
For the chocolate frosting
- 75g/3oz cocoa powder
- 100g/4oz golden icing sugar
- 60g/2 1⁄2oz) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 50ml/2fl oz milk For the decoration
- 300g/11oz favourite sweeties, including jelly sweets, Smarties, chocolate honeycomb balls
Preheat the oven to 190°C, 375°F, Gas 5 and lightly grease a 20cm/8in heart-shaped cake tin and the line sides and base with non-stick baking paper.
Sift the flour, sugars, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, egg, vanilla extract, milk and coffee and then whisk into the dry ingredients until fully mixed and glossy. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake for 40 minutes for a fudge texture and until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Celebrity baker Mich Turner
Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 20 minutes. Transfer the cake to a wire rack and leave to cool, and then chill for 30 minutes before frosting.
To make the chocolate frosting, put all the ingredients in a large bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until you have a smooth, thick frosting.
To assemble the cake, cover the top and then the sides of the cake with frosting and smooth with a palette knife or cake scraper. This will create a small collar to support the fruit.
Arrange the sweeties on top of the cake to fill the heart shape. The base is suitable for freezing – defrost at room temperature and then decorate.
Everyday Bakes to Showstopper Cakes by Mich Turner is published by Frances Lincoln, £20
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