It was my husband’s birthday yesterday and the girls wanted to make him a cat themed birthday cake. They are both a bit obsessed with cats it has to be said. So this is it. The cake is Nigel Slater’s Chocolate Espresso Cake (from Real Food), which always works wonderfully and is popular with everyone who tries it. It is rich and fudgy and very moreish. The cat is a whipped ganache and complements the cake very well.
For the cake:
180g 70% cocoa chocolate, broken into pieces
3 tbsp espresso (very strong coffee)
140g butter, cut into small pieces
5 eggs, separated
200g caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp good quality cocoa powder
90g plain flour
100ml double cream
50g 70% cocoa chocolate, broken into small pieces
Method for the cake
You will need a 20cm springform tin, lined with baking parchment.
Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of just simmering water. Be careful that the steam does not make contact with the chocolate and make sure the water doesn’t boil. Too much heat will seize the chocolate. When the chocolate begins to melt add the warm espresso and leave to continue to melt. Add the diced butter, (the smaller the better), and stir gently until it is all melted and combined.
Whilst this is happening beat the 5 egg whites in a very clean bowl until stiff and then fold the sugar in as gently as possible.
Remove the melted chocolate from the heat and stir in the 5 egg yolks, then slowly fold this into the egg whites, trying to be as careful as possible to retain as much air as you can.
Sieve the flour, cocoa and baking powder together into the mixture and fold in until just combined.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in a preheated oven at 180° c (gas mark 4) for about 30 minutes, until it is springy to the touch. Leave it in the tin to cool completely. It can be served like this, dusted with cocoa powder. It is lovely with double cream poured over it. However if you want to recreate the topping read on.
For the topping, beat the cream until it’s aerated but still soft, (adding the chocolate will thicken it up quite a bit so you don’t want it to be thick at this stage). Melt the chocolate gently over a pan of barely simmering water. Add the chocolate to the cream and stir to combine. Spread onto the cake and if you want it to look like a cat then use jelly tots and spaghetti to decorate.