Departures with a twist

 

This weekend one of the housemates is moving out, he is off to Thailand to teach English, and whilst I am very proud of him for shaking his life up and going off to do something exciting on the other side of the world, I will miss him. Especially because he is the chief consumer of my kitchen experiments. So we organised a surprise BBQ for him in addition to his big leaving do and so of course I had to make a cake. For a while I have wanted to make Wagamama’s Chocolate and Wasabi fudge cake, I absolutely love it, especially the unusual flavour combination. As the housemate is heading to Asia, what a perfect excuse to make an Asian desert. Wagamama’s don’t publish the recipe, not even in their cookbook, which I own, so I turned to the Internet, and found this. So using her recipe, I adapted the topping section, and this is the final recipe I used:

 

Ingredients

 

For the cake

 

400g plain flour

 

250g caster sugar

 

100g brown sugar

 

75g cocoa powder

 

2 tsp baking powder

 

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

 

½ tsp salt

 

3 eggs

 

1 150g tub Total 0% Greek Yoghurt

 

1 tbsp vanilla extract

 

175g unsalted butter, melted and cooled

 

300ml ice water

 

For the Wasabi fudge icing in the middle of the cake

 

50g dark chocolate

 

125g unsalted butter

 

137g icing sugar

 

1/2 tbsp vanilla extract

 

1 tsp Wasabi paste, (to taste)

 

For the Wasabi fudge icing on the outside of the cake

100g white chocolate

 

250g unsalted butter

 

275g icing sugar

 

1 tbsp vanilla extract

 

1-2 tsp Wasabi paste, (to taste)

 

Method

 

1. Preheat the oven to 180 C/gas 4. Butter and line with greaseproof paper the bottom of two 20 cm sandwich tins.

 

2. In a large bowl mix together the flour, cocoa, sugars, baking powder, salt and bicarbonate of soda.

 

3. In a large jug whisk together the eggs, sour cream and vanilla until blended. Add melted butter and ice water.

 

4. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and beat in well.

 

5. Divide the batter between the two prepared tins and bake the cake for 50 – 55 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the cake.

 

6. Allow the cake to cool on a wire rack for 15-20 minutes, if you try to ice it before it’s cool your icing will melt and become greasy.

 

7. To make the icing, melt the chocolate and let it cool slightly.

 

8. In another bowl beat the butter until soft and creamy and combine the sifted icing sugar. Beat until smooth and then add the cooled chocolate, vanilla and Wasabi. Beat until smooth and glossy, check the strength of the Wasabi and add more if necessary. I liked it to have a distinct heat!

 

9. Repeat for the white chocolate topping.

 

10. Use the dark chocolate icing to sandwich the cake together and place on a cake stand to ice the top and sides of the cake with the white chocolate icing.

 

The cake came out nicely and sandwiched together well with the first venture into dark chocolate wasabi butter cream.

 

I made the white chocolate wasabi butter cream the next day, and being a little impatient didn’t wait long enough for the white chocolate to cool, thus curdling the butter. So I did it all again, being patient this time and it worked perfectly…it just didn’t taste like wagamamas. After icing, I added some edible letters to wish the housemate good luck.

The cake was served to Take That’s ‘Back for Good’, which anyone who has seen the last episode of Spaced will understand. The verdict seemed altogether positive, although it was commented that it was a little rich. I definitely want to try this again, as the wagamamas cake is a lot lighter, and fudgier and there is something different about the icing. I think first a trip to wagamamas may be in order. Stay tuned to see how this experiment develops.

 

Birthdays and odd combinations

On Thursday my mum’s partner Steve turned 60. On Saturday we are all trundling down to the Sussex countryside to celebrate, and I’m in charge of the cake!! I was to be quite honest a little excited, with no parameters other than its not to be decorated I could do anything. Well Steve is known for his love of unusual food combinations. One Easter we had a fantastic Mayan chilli chocolate cake in the shape of a Mayan temple. Last Christmas was every kind of local berry gin you could imagine. So inspired by the chilli and the fruit I decided I wanted to make a chilli chocolate cake but, as Steve doesn’t have a big sweet tooth, with some fruit in it. So googling away I came across this. I figured I could just adapt it to make it into a cake. Now I’m known a little for my kitchen disasters as much as my baking (tempura vegetables, a very desperate chocolate finger house cake using kinder chocolate, the list goes on) so having little time to practice I decided to make a mini version of the cake, as I went along in order to make sure it tasted great and worked out.

Mango Mousse

  • 4 cups Mango Puree
  • 2 each Thai Chili, split
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 12 Gelatin Sheets
  • 2 qt Heavy Cream

Mango Gel

  • 1 ¾ cup Mango Puree
  • ¾ cup Water
  • ½ cup Sugar
  • 2 sheets Gelatin

Chocolate Cake

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup Dutch cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

So following the recipe I made the cake on Thursday night. Mini cake alongside, and its tasted great, so far so good. I substituted buttermilk for yoghurt, as I can never find it in the supermarket, and I’m not sure they even have it in this country.

Preheat the oven to 165 Celsius. Butter a round deep cake tin with a removable bottom. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat well, then the buttermilk and vanilla.  Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt together right into your wet ingredients. Stir together with a spoon until well blended but do not over mix. Scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well blended. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool.

So Friday night came and time for the complicated bits. I followed the recipe for the Mango gel and mousse, simultaneously following another recipe for the instructions on how to make the mousse:

Soak the gelatin leaves in cold water.

In a small saucepan, bring the sugar and water to the boil, simmer for 3-4 minutes and remove from the heat. Add the gelatin, which will dissolve immediately.

Peel and coarsely dice the mango and place in a liquidiser with the juice and zest of half orange. Reduce to a purée.

Place the cream in a large bowl and whisk to ribbon stage.

Add the syrup/gelatin and whisk in.

With a metal spoon, beat in the mango purée.

Layer mousse- about 1” inch thick and smooth out with rubber spatula. Pour room temperature gel. Make gel while cake is cooling so you can pour it over the mousse it a liquid state. Allow to set at least 2-4 hours. Best results if allowed to rest overnight.

And this is what I ended up with.

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It survived a train journey to mums and being taken out of the cake tin, and although the topping did leak down the side of the cake a little, I was happy with it for a first try, and the verdict was YUM!

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