Sunday 25 December 2011

Squiddy cake

This year we are celebrating Christmas for the first time without one of my aunts. I remember her and my mum discussing and baking squiddy cakes in the mid 80’s, so as a reminder of her and her epic baking skills, I made squiddy cake for dessert on Christmas day.

I think the recipe the two girls would have used in the day was a Delia Smith one, and indeed, hers was the only recipe I found, except she calls it squidgy cake.

This was enough for two helpings for four people, with a little left over.

There is a clue in the name, this dessert is quite soft and squishy! And delicious. It takes a bit of work (mainly cos I only have one beater for beating egg whites) but it’s well worth it. It’s very light – it’s like a cooked chocolate mousse.

My tin was slightly smaller than the recommended 30x20cm. I think I was a little too nervous about knocking the air out of the egg whites when mixing the cake mixture, and next time I make this, I will mix the cake mixture more thoroughly, as the heavier egg yolk mixture seems to have separated slightly from the white during the cooking. Also, I will try cooking it for another 7 minutes, as even though the obligatory inserted skewer came out clean, it was still on the slightly underdone side.

UPDATE: 08.01.2012 – I made this again last week and made sure to combine the eggy cake mixtures more thoroughly, and this worked better. I also cooked it for about 30 - 33 minutes, which resulted in a better cake. Delia begins by making the filling, but you can cut down on the washing up by making the cake first. 

For the cake:
6 large eggs, separated
5 oz (150 g) caster sugar
2 oz (50 g) cocoa powder

For the filling:
8 oz (225 g) dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
2 large eggs, separated
8 fl oz (225 ml) double cream

To finish:
Icing sugar

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4, 350°F (180°C).

You will also need a tin 30 x 20 x 2.5cm / 12 x 8 x 1 inch, oiled and the base lined with baking parchment

Begin by making the chocolate filling. Break the chocolate in pieces into a basin and add 100ml/4fl oz warm water. Now place the basin over a saucepan of barely simmering water and wait for the chocolate to melt. After that, remove from the heat and beat it with a wooden spoon until smooth. Next beat the egg yolks, first on their own, then into the warm chocolate mixture. Let it cool a bit then whisk the egg whites till stiff and fold them into the chocolate mixture. Cover the bowl and chill in the refrigerator for about an hour.

Meanwhile you can get on with the cake. Heat the oven to 180°. First place the egg yolks in a basin and whisk until they start to thicken, then add the caster sugar and continue to whisk until the mixture thickens slightly – but be careful not to get it too thick. Now sift the cocoa powder into the egg yolk mixture and whisk them together, then, using a clean whisk and bowl, whisk the egg whites to the soft peak stage. Next carefully cut and fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture – gently and thoroughly – then pour the mixture into the prepared tin.

Bake the cake on the centre shelf for 20-25 minutes until springy and puffy. When the cake is cooked, remove it from the oven but leave it in the cake tin to cool (it will shrink quite a bit as it cools but don't worry, that's normal).

Then when the cake is quite cold, turn it out on to an oblong of baking parchment which has been liberally dusted with icing sugar. Peel away the cake tin lining paper from the bottom of the cake (which is now facing upwards), then spread the chocolate mousse filling over the cake. Next whip the cream softly and spread it over the chocolate filling. Now with the shortest end nearest you, roll the cake away from you, using the parchment to help you to make a log shape. This will serve eight people and, although it's unlikely that there will be any left, you can cover any remaining cake with an upturned basin and keep it in the refrigerator. As an alternative, an 11 oz tin of sweetened chestnut purée (crème de marrons) can replace the chocolate mousse.

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