Saturday, 4 February 2012

Nigella's Honey Chocolate Cake


As you already know, I enter a lot of baking challenges so I couldn't really miss out on one of my favourite bloggers challenge - Virtual Valentine Craft and Bake Competition 2012 hosted by cakeboule  The rules are simple, make anything that says Valentine's Day to you. 

Last time I made something for a Valentine/love theme was for Iron Cupcake London (which is sorely missed). Back then, I decided I didn't want to make the obvious chocolate, berries, champagne, rose so I made "Tropical Passion Cupcakes" (passionfruit and pineapple cupcake with a lime and coconut frosting) and "It's a Rocky Road to Love Cupcakes" (Rocky Road cupcakes)  

However, for this challenge I decided I definitely wanted something with chocolate but what should I pair it with? I had quite a few ideas and then inspiration struck in the middle of the night that I should make something with honey. Honey is a common term of endearment. It is sweet and lovely and pairs well with chocolate and therefore perfect for a Valentine's challenge. So I googled honey and chocolate and the first result was Nigella's Honey and Chocolate cake.  As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to make it including the little bees!! 

This is one of my new favourite cakes. It was really moist and slightly fudgy with the delicious flavour and smell of honey.  Often when I use honey in bakes, the flavours are subtle but for this recipe, quite a lot of honey is used in the sponge and frosting so the flavour really comes through.  The frosting is absolutely divine and I could just eat it on its own! Everyone loved this cake and it disappeared so quickly, I didn't have a chance to save some for a friend I was seeing later!

Nigella recommends using yellow marzipan to make the bees but I used Dr Oetker ready to roll icing as I had a box at home. They were surprisingly easy to make! Just roll little sausage shapes and taper one end. Paint the stripes and eyes using the frosting and add 2 flaked almonds to make the wings. 

As I made this cake in a hurry and very late at night, I made a few minor errors. I should have waited for the icing to set completely before placing the bees on top as they sunk into the cake. I should also have turned the cake upside down before icing to avoid the dip in the middle of my cake. However, I was extremely pleased with the final result. It tasted really good and definitely had a homemade look about it :)

As this is a Nigella recipe, I am also entering this to Forever Nigella hosted by Sarah from Maison Cupcake 




 adding glorious honey 

 its a very liquid batter - don't worry, it cooks fine! 

 Love Nigella's tip about lining the plate with 4 strips of parchment paper so you have a clean serving plate after frosting! Genius!! 

 you can see the sunken middle :(

 add frosting on top (which hides everything!) and slide the strips of parchment paper out leaving a nice clean plate :) (but caused some cracks as I was doing this as the frosting was so fudgy and stuck firmly to the paper)

 making the bees... this is just yellow ready to roll icing 

 add stripes, eyes and some wings :) 

 the one that sunk into the cake.. drunk on chocolate honey love :) ps in case you can't tell those are little hearts sprinkled on the cake along with some butterflies 

 I really love the bees - they are so cute and I'm definitely making this again. 

 


Recipe is from Nigella's website


FOR THE CAKE:
100g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
275g light muscovado sugar
225g soft butter
125ml runny honey
2 eggs
200g plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 tablespoon cocoa
250ml boiling water

FOR THE STICKY HONEY GLAZE:
60ml water
125ml runny honey
175g dark chocolate
75g icing sugar

FOR THE BEES:
25g yellow marzipan
12 flaked almonds

METHOD
Serves: Makes about 10 slices

  • Take whatever you need out of the fridge so that all the ingredients can come to room temperature. While that's happening, melt the chocolate from the cake part of the ingredients list in a good-sized bowl, either in the microwave or suspended over a pan of simmering water. Set aside to cool slightly.
  • Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C, and butter and line a 23cm springform cake tin.
  • Beat together the sugar and soft butter until airy and creamy, and then add the honey. Add one of the eggs, beating it in with a tablespoon of the flour, and then the other egg with another tablespoon of flour. Fold in the melted chocolate, and then the rest of the flour and the bicarbonate of soda. Add the cocoa pushed through a tea strainer to ensure you have no lumps, and last of all, beat in the boiling water. (I don't suppose there's anything to stop you doing this all-in-one in the processor, blitzing everything except the boiling water, and then scraping down the batter and pouring the water down the funnel with the motor running.) Mix everything well to make a smooth batter and pour into the prepared tin. Cook for up to an hour and a half, though check the cake after 45 minutes and if it is catching cover the top lightly with foil and check every 15 minutes.
  • Let the cake cool completely in the tin on a rack.
  • To make the glaze, bring the water and honey to a boil in a smallish, though not tiny, saucepan, then turn off the heat and add the finely chopped chocolate (I use my mezzaluna or 70 per cent cocoa solids buttons), swirling it around to melt in the hot liquid. Leave it for a few minutes then whisk together. Sieve in the icing sugar and whisk again until smooth.
  • Choose your plate or stand and cut out four strips of baking paper and form a square outline on the plate. This is so that when you sit the cake on and ice it, the icing will not run out all over the plate. Unclip the tin and sit the thoroughly cooled cake on the prepared plate. Pour the icing over the cold honey chocolate cake and smooth it down the sides. I should warn you that the glaze stays tacky for ages (this is what gives it its lovely melting gooeyness) so ice in time for the glaze to harden a little, say at least an hour before you want to serve it. You can then very gently slide out the strips of baking paper to reveal a clean plate. Keep the pan of icing, and don't wash it up, as you will need it to make the stripes on the bees.
  • Divide the marzipan into six even pieces and shape them into fat, sausage-like bees' bodies, slightly tapered at the ends.
  • Using a wooden skewer, paint stripes with the sticky honey glaze left in the pan. About three stripes look best, in my not enormously considered opinion, and then very carefully attach the flaked almonds at an angle to make the bees' wings, two on each one (unsurprisingly). They might snap as you dig them into the marzipan bodies, so have some spare. I have to admit that, I also like to give them eyes by dipping the point of the skewer in the glaze and thence on the bees: they look more loveable with an expression, but this is where the Disney effect comes in. If a more imperial dignity is required, forgo the dotting of the eyes and present this as your Napoleonic Chocolate Cake.



34 comments:

  1. mmmm This look beauty and yummy love the bees!!!

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  2. Very impressive! You can just say the honey bees got stuck in the chocolate frosting like it was a trap!

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  3. Such a beautiful cake! You should be very proud!

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    1. Thank you I really am as I thought I wouldn't be able to make it.

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  4. Awe look at those wonderful little bees - I don;t think I'd be able to bring myself to eat one lol. Love the cake.

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    1. I couldnt bring myself to eat one either but I loved the cake!

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  5. Ahhhh I love the bees! Honey and chocolate sounds like a great combination in a cake too!! :-)

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    1. It was a delicious combination! The bees were the best part though :)

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  6. this looks and sounds delicious!

    next2mee.blogspot.com

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  7. This is the cutest cake I've seen in a long time! I agree with others - you can be proud of yourself! Now that I see a normal person succeeding in such fancy-looking decoration,I'm encouraged to try that too!

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    1. Honestly if I can do it, so can you! It really was not as difficult as I thought it would be.

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  8. adorably cute... love the sunken bee. this is such a cute cake and so loveable... divine baking x

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    1. Thanks Dom, I am loving all the imperfections, makes its more loveable :)

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  9. I love this, those bees are like little cartoon bees and the cake looks amazing.

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    1. probably unintentional effect as I cant make professional looking bees! :)

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  10. My my what a fantastic job - I adore the bee's they are so tiny and cute and fun - just adorable the whole thing. Roz you are genius! Thank you for entering the competition - good luck in both!

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    1. thanks for hosting a fabulous challenge. I am really pleased with the bees. I need to find another occasion to make this again :)

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  11. Oh I miss Iron Cupcake too! and I'm so glad you linked back to your recipe for the tropical cupcakes. I remember trying them at the event but don't think I was following your blog back then, they were amazing - those 4 fruits are pretty much my fave fruits of all time so pair them all together in a cupcake and wow! I will have to give it a try! This cake is so cute! those little bees, wow you excelled yourself!

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    1. I don't think I was reading your blog either when I went to Iron Cupcake. Those were good times! Do give this cake a try - everyone will love it :)

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  12. I've made this cake before, complete with bees - it looks so cute, doesn't it?! Really yummy too!

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  13. YUM :) I am so so so jealous that your colleagues all got to eat this cake! I can't believe being a massive Nigella fan I haven't come across this recipe before!

    I love honey and I have the same issue, when I use it in my cupcakes and loaf cakes, i can never really taste the honey. I can't wait to try this recipe but i think i'm gonna skip the honey bees they look a little hard to make for me :)

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    1. Definitely try this recipe and try making the bees too. It's really, really easy and you don't need any fancy equipment.

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  14. I love this cake - the bees are so cute!

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  15. Love your version of the cake too - it sounds so delicious and the bees are so cute :)

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  16. Those are really cute and creative things in the cake!

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