Wednesday 29 March 2017

Three lips-smackingly good chocolately desserts

Nothing says 'I love you' like a chocolatey dessert. Here's three to try from Victoria Glass

Black Forest pavlova
Black Forest pavlova
Miracles
Black velvet cake
Deliciously Chocolate by Victoria Glass.

Nothing says 'I love you' like a chocolatey dessert. Here's three to try from Victoria Glass.

Black Forest pavlova

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Pavlova was created in the 1920s in honour of ballet dancer Anna Pavlova. Either an Australian or New Zealand invention - neither side can agree - I've added Germany into the equation, giving it the Black Forest treatment.

Serves 8

Ingredients

6 egg whites

A pinch of salt

335g caster sugar

20g cocoa powder, sifted

1 tsp white wine vinegar

75g dark chocolate (60-70pc cocoa solids), grated

600ml double cream

Kirsch-soaked cherries

600g stoned cherries

3 tbsp caster sugar

5-6 tbsp kirsch (or other cherry liqueur)

A large baking sheet lined with baking parchment

Method

Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F)/ Gas 2.

Whisk the egg whites with the salt until stiff peaks form. Gradually, 1 tablespoon at a time, add the sugar, whisking between each addition. The meringue should be very stiff and glossy. Whisk in the cocoa and vinegar and fold in the chocolate with a large metal spoon.

Spoon generous dollops of meringue in a ring shape about 25 cm/10 in. across onto the prepared baking sheet. Spoon more of the mixture in the middle and build up the sides slightly higher. Make swirls in the meringue using a fork for an attractive finish. Pop the meringue in the preheated oven, close the oven door and immediately reduce the temperature to 140°C (275°F) Gas 1. Bake for 1 hour.

Turn the oven off, but leave the meringue inside, with the oven door shut, until the oven is completely cold. It's easiest to make the meringue in the evening and leave it in the oven overnight to cool.

For the kirsch-soaked cherries, put the cherries in a bowl and sprinkle the sugar over the top. Pour in the kirsch and toss until all the cherries are completely coated. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave to macerate for a few hours or even overnight while the meringue is also cooling.

Whip the cream until stiff but not dry and whisk in 3-4 tablespoons of the macerating liquor from the cherries. Place the meringue on a cake stand and spread the cream thickly over the top, before piling on the drained cherries.

Miracles

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These simple chocolate fairy cakes hail from New Zealand and make perfect lunchbox and bake sale fare.

Makes 12

Ingredients

130ml milk

2 tbsp golden syrup

100g light muscovado sugar

60g butter

A pinch of bicarbonate of soda

2 eggs, beaten

170g self-raising flour

30g cocoa powder

3 tbsp raspberry jam

12 natural glacé cherries

Buttercream

75g soft butter

75g dark chocolate (60-70pc cocoa solids), melted and cooled

100g icing sugar

A splash of milk, if needed

A 12-hole muffin pan lined with paper cases

A piping/pastry bag fitted with a plain nozzle/tip

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F)/ Gas 4.

Put the milk, golden syrup, sugar and butter in a large saucepan set over a medium heat and stir until melted. Take the pan off the heat and whisk in the bicarbonate of soda. The mixture will foam up slightly. Leave to cool for a few minutes before whisking in the beaten egg. Sift in the flour and cocoa, and fold in until fully incorporated.

Divide the mixture between the paper cases and bake in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Transfer the cakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

Use a small, sharp knife to cut out a small inverted cone shape from the top of each cake. Fill each cavity with jam before replacing the cut cake tops.

To make the buttercream, simply whisk the butter until very soft before adding the chocolate and whisking to combine. Sift in the icing sugar and whisk until light and fluffy. You can add a splash of milk to slightly slacken the mixture if needed.

Spoon the buttercream into the piping bag and pipe a swirl of buttercream on top of each cake. Top with a glacé cherry and enjoy.

Black velvet cake

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The Black Velvet cocktail was first created in 1861 by Brooks' Club in London as a tribute to the late Prince Albert. The cocktail, like this cake, mixes Guinness with champagne for an intensely dark and moreish cake.

Serves 12

Ingredients

200g dark chocolate (60-70pc cocoa solids), chopped

225g soft butter

350g dark muscovado sugar

4 large eggs, beaten

440ml Guinness (or other dry stout)

225g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

2tsp bicarbonate of soda

100g cocoa powder

A pinch of salt

Frosting

250g soft butter

200g full-fat cream cheese (such as Philadelphia)

400g icing sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

50ml Champagne (or other sparkling wine)

3 x 20-cm/8-in. cake pans, greased and lined with baking parchment

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F)/ Gas 4.

Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl suspended over a pan of barely simmering water. Leave to cool.

In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and sugar and add the beaten eggs, a little at a time to prevent curdling.

Whisk the Guinness® into the melted chocolate (you might want to decant this into a large jug for ease later on).

Sift together the dry ingredients and fold half into the butter and sugar mixture.

Add half of the chocolate mixture and mix thoroughly. Add the remaining dry ingredients, followed by the wet, and whisk until everything is thoroughly mixed.

Spoon the batter into the prepared cake pans and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave the cakes to cool on a wire rack still in their pans, before turning out.

To make the frosting, whisk the butter and cream cheese together before sifting in half of the icing sugar. Whisk to combine, before sifting in the remaining icing sugar. Continue to whisk until combined, then add the vanilla and Champagne. Continue to whisk until light and fluffy.

Place one of the cake layers on a serving plate or cake stand. Layer the cakes on top of each other using two-thirds of the frosting, before spreading the remaining third on the top of the cake with a palette knife.

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