This weekend I completed the British Heart Foundation London to Brighton Bike Ride, but this time on my lovely new bike! It was a great day, I really enjoying doing it, although it can be hard at times, it was also a great way to celebrate father’s day and to finish the day off I gave my Dad a chocolate and coconut cake. I think he was pleased with it. You are allowed to eat cake after cycling 60 miles! I was looking through some past posts recently and noticed that after I finished the London to Brighton last year I made this Angel Cake, which was rather strange because when we got home from the ride this year my sister had made a lovely Angel Cake, completely without knowing! Here is a picture of it, I love the technique she has used for the icing. As I told you in my last post I got a rather amazing personalised but huuge bar of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk recently and I have been using it in lots of baking. This post is another one of those recipes! I love chocolate cake but I also like combining chocolate with other flavours in cakes, orange, cherry, beetroot, raspberry but I hadn’t tried lemon before. I didn’t see why it wouldn’t work, orange and chocolate and lime and chocolate work so well and you often get a lemon chocolate in a box of chocolates. I gave it a go and it is now one of my favourite cakes! It is actually inspired by a book by Aimee Bender called The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. She bites into her mother’s chocolate lemon cake and realises she can taste emotions in food, in the case tasting her mother’s despair and desperation. Don’t worry, this cake isn’t sad at all!
This cake consists of 3 layers, a lemon layer sandwiched between 2 chocolate layers. All 3 layers are brushed with a lemon syrup before assembling. The cake is filled and covered in a milk chocolate ganache. The recipe for the chocolate layers of this cake is based on my chocolate fudge cake recipe but this time with the addition of lemon. This recipe will make a 6inch cake. If you only have 8 inch tins then you can either adjust the amounts of use the recipe as it is, it will just give thinner layers so your cake won’t be as tall.
The best way to make this cake is to make the ganache and the sponge the day before assembling the cake, so that the sponges are cold and the ganache is set when it comes to putting the cake together, it will make your life much easier and make for a much neater cake!
To make this cake you will need:
For the chocolate layers:
220g plain flour
100g soft brown sugar
250g caster sugar
90g cocoa powder
1.5 tsp baking powder
1.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
250ml whole milk
125ml sunflower oil
zest of 1 lemon (unwaxed)
250ml boiling water
For the lemon layer:
100g unsalted butter or margarine
100g caster sugar
100g self raising flour
zest of 1 lemon
For the lemon syrup:
2 tbsp caster sugar
For the milk chocolate ganache:
250ml double cream
300g milk chocolate
Make the ganache first, preferably the day before. Gently heat the double cream in a saucepan, add the milk chocolate and stir well until all the chocolate has melted and it is thick and glossy. Leave to cool and leave to set in the fridge overnight. You want it to be a spreadable consistency to ice the cake.
Preheat the oven to 180C and grease and line three 6 inch sandwich tins. To make the chocolate layers mix together the flour, sugars, cocoa powder, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl. Add the eggs, milk and oil and mix well. Stir in the lemon zest. Finally add the boiling water and mix in. The mixture will be very runny but don’t worry about it, it gives a lovely moist cake. Divide the batter between two prepared tins and bake in the oven at 180C for about 1 hour. They will be done when a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the lemon cake beat together the butter and sugar in a bowl. Add the eggs and milk and beat well. Stir in the lemon zest and then fold in the flour using a spatula or metal spoon. Pour the batter into a greased and lined cake tin and bake in the oven at 180C for about 30 minutes until as skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Once the cakes have cooled trim the tops of the cakes so that they are all equal and have a flat surface. Make the lemon syrup next by gently heating the sugar with the juice of 2 lemons in a saucepan until all the sugar is dissolved. Using a skewer or fork prick some holes in the cakes and using a pastry brush, brush the tops of the cakes with the syrup. Be generous to get lots of lovely lemon flavour! Leave the cakes to cool completely before assembling.
When you are ready to assemble the cake take the ganache out of the fridge. Using a palette knife spread the ganache on top of one of the chocolate layers and place the lemon layer on top of this. Repeat a layer of ganache and place the final chocolate layer on top.
Now cover the outside of the cake with the remaining ganache trying to get as smooth a finish as you can but be gentle so you don’t break the cake. Once the cake is completely covered finish with a sprinkling of cocoa powder, I used a Peggy Porschen style stencil for mine, it is from this pack. If you are using a stencil brush a light coating of oil on to the side of the stencil you are going to put down onto the cake to avoid it sticking and ruining your design and your smooth finish on your cake.
I made this cake for some friends when they came round for dinner, this is the only picture I managed to get of the cake before we cut it!
And here I am with my Dad and little (but not so little!) brother at the end of the London to Brighton:
PS. I am entering this into the Tea Time Treats challenge hosted by What Kate Baked and Lavender and Lovage. This month’s theme is Layer Cakes.