Sunday, 19 June 2011

Chocolate & Blackberry Cake

We know that green foods such as spinach and brocolli are vital to our diets, but it's sometimes forgotten that the purple ones are just as important and often more fun to eat! Purple berries like blackberries, blueberries and blackcurrants are high in antioxidants which guard against ageing, joint inflammation, eyestrain, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Dark chocolate, too, contains antioxidants which are supposed to help diabetes and blood pressure.

My dad has some health issues, so when it came to celebrating Father's day this sunday, I decided to make a special cake which would combine the healthiness of the purple berry with the deliciousness of chocolate. This chocolate and blackberry cake was born. It's a wonderful concoction that can be decorated in a number of ways using different fruit, flowers or candles, and would work well as a celebratory cake for birthdays and any special occasions.

Serves 8-10

Adapted from the Easy Chocolate Cake recipe by Rachel Manley given on the BBC Food website

For the cake:
2 medium eggs
250ml milk
125ml vegetable oil
225g plain flour
350g caster sugar
85g cocoa powder
1 & a half tsp baking powder
1 & a half tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp vanilla extract
250ml boiling water

1. Grease and line 2 loose-bottomed sandwich tins (20x8). Turn the oven to 180C (160 fan ovens).

2. In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients except the boiling water, and beat the batter with an electric whisk until well combined.

3. Add the boiling water gradually, a little at a time, until the batter is smooth and runny.

4. Pour the mixture evenly into the 2 prepared cake tins, and put in the oven to bake for 25-35 mins. You'll know it's done when the top is firm and a skewer comes out clean.

5. Leave the cakes in their tins to cool completely.

For the icing:
200g plain chocolate, broken into pieces
200ml double cream
2 or 3 punnets blackberries
icing sugar to dust
wafer butterflies

6. Warm the chocolate and cream in a saucepan over a low heat hob and stir until the chocolate melts.

7. Remove from the saucepan and beat the mixture in a bowl so that it becomes thick and glossy.

8. Cover the bowl with a plate and leave it to rest and cool for 1-2 hours, or until it's thick enough to be spread on the cake.

9. When the cakes are cool and the icing rested, carefully take the cakes out of their tins, peel off the baking paper and place them on a wire rack or a couple of plates.

10. Spread half the icing over the underside of one cake, and sprinkle it with blackberries and a little sieved icing sugar before sandwiching the second cake on top. Ice the top of the second cake, then add the rest of the blackberries, lightly dusted with a little icing sugar. Finally scatter with wafer butterflies or any other decoration. Once made, it's worth keeping this cake in the fridge to keep the blackberries fresh.

This cake was idly baked to Arcade Fire's album The Suburbs

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