Mr Colonial Cravings has requested a cake. He often does. This one is for an afternoon of seasonal festivities at work so who am I to deny him?
I’ve decided to stay away from exclusively British treats and go for something with more universal appeal. Chocolate.
To turn a bog standard chocolate cake into something a bit more festive I’ve decided to give it lots of warming, wintry, spicy flavours and a slightly more dense, moist, almost sticky texture. I was aiming for a chocolate version of Jamaican ginger cake.
I’ve made it in a similar way to brownies, melting the wet ingredients together and then adding in the dry ingredients. Using brown sugar rather refined white sugar really helps with the texture and complements the spices well. The little nuggets of crystalised ginger are so much nicer than simply using ground ginger.
The rum is optional, I didn’t include it in the version for my husbands work (obviously) and just added a tablespoon of water after mixing in the dry ingredients.
You don’t have use a bundt tin for this. I’ve also baked it using diddy little pudding basins, reducing the cooking time to 25 minutes.
175g butter (plus extra for greasing)
100g dark chocolate (chopped)
100g dark soft brown sugar
100g light soft brown sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup
1 tbsp rum (optional)
60g crystalised ginger
25g cocoa powder
125g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground allspice
pinch of seasalt
100g good quality dark chocolate
100g double cream
small knob of butter
1 tbsp rum (optional)
icing sugar/festive sprinkles to decorate
Pre-heat your oven to 160°c.
Melt the butter, along with a little extra in a large saucepan. Brush the inside of your bundt tin really thoroughly with some of this.
Add the chocolate, both sugars, syrup and the rum (if using) to the butter and melt together over a very low heat. Once it’s all amalgamated set it to one side to cool a little.
Finely chop the ginger and stir this and the salt through the mixture.
Beat the eggs and then mix them into the cooled chocolate mix. Make sure it’s all really well combined.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder. Stir through the ground spices.
Add the dry ingredients, in two batches, to the wet ingredients, mixing it together really well.
Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for around about 1 hour. Check that it is cooked all the way through by poking a skewer into the cake and ensuring that it comes out clean.
Once baked, leave the cake in the tin to cool for a bit before turning it out onto a wire rack. I find this helps to encourage it to leave all the little nooks and crannies of the bundt tin cleanly.
To make the ganache simply melt together the chocolate and cream (and rum, if using) over the lowest heat possible in a small saucepan. Once melted beat through a small amount of butter, this will give it a nice glossy finish. Let this cool and thicken up a bit before pouring over the top of the cake and sprinkling on any additional decoration.
I may never make a traditional Christmas cake again!