School holiday are here, just as I have a looming deadline and need to focus on finishing a big project. Try as I might to get through the work load, the children chase each other around the kitchen table where I work, or play handball in the hallway, while the dog barks and wrestles the cat, who tries to steal the ball.
It’s pure bedlam.
Best to retreat to the kitchen and bake this cake. A chocolate sponge cake that uses up the surplus eggs our hens are laying. And homemade butter that my friend Sadie gave me, made with cream from her dairy cows.
Chocolate Victoria Sponge Cake
275g butter, softened
275g castor sugar
5 eggs, room temperature
240 g self raising flour
40g dark cocoa powder
2 – 3 teaspoons of yoghurt or milk (look, traditionally, you’re supposed to use milk, but I thought I’d try yoghurt, it seemed to work okay)
Preheat oven to 180 C
Grease and line two 20 cm sandwich cake tins.
Cream butter and sugar in a stand mixer until really pale and fluffy.
Add the eggs, one at a time, making sure each egg is well combined before adding the next.
In a separate mixing bowl, sift flour and cocoa together.
Reduce mixer speed and add 1/3 of the flour mix and combine, add the reminder of the flour then the yoghurt or milk. Mix until just combined, but don't over work the mixture. I usually give the mixer a ten second blast to finish the mixing.
Divide mixture between the two tins and bake for about 30 minutes. To test, I gently press the centre of the cake and if it springs back it is done. However you can insert a skewer to test too.
Leave to cool in the cake tin for a while, before turning out onto a wire rack. Leave to cool completely then ice however you fancy.
Usually I like a smear of jam and whipped cream in the middle with a dusting of icing sugar on top. But this time, in a small saucepan, I melted 300g of dark chocolate in 40mls of cream and a knob of butter, but it split and looked grainy. I kicked myself for not following a recipe for ganache, like this one, but crisis was averted by whipping it until it thickened. Then I smeared it on top of one cake, then placed the other cake on top, and swirled the rest of the ganache over the surface.
I shaved a small block of Mexican chocolate with a sharp knife and sprinkled the chards on top.
Work done? No.
Children and mother happy anyway? Yes.
Dog still wrestling cat? I'm afraid so.