Very few times in my life has my wife laid down a direct cooking request to me that has been truly intimidating! However, the challenge of making a Bruce Bogtrotter chocolate cake for her birthday was a task that truly did terrify me, especially since I am not normally a cake person and have had to live with the fact that Charlotte truly upped the cake game by baking me an amazing cake 10 years ago!
The original deal I struck with Charlotte was that I would make her a cake that was very, very chocolatey and not at all fruity (as per her taste). I was a little bit stuck in this regard as I don’t have a great range of chocolate cake recipes up my sleeve.
Fortunately, help was at hand! I was strolling through the supermarket and happened to notice that Delicious magazine had as its cover a picture of a mammoth sized chocolate cake that seemed to fit the brief! As an added bonus, I also discovered the recipe was a Bruce Bogtrotter cake, lifted from one of Charlotte’s favourite childhood books and films, Roald Dahl’s Matilda!
I stated earlier that I had been given only one task by Charlotte and that was to make the cake ridiculously chocolatey. Fail to do that and I would see my attempt usurped by a shop bought cake in the shape of a caterpillar!
It cannot be said that this cake was not chocolatey. In fact I will point out that it made me realise two things: firstly, 60% cocoa chocolate is very hard to come by, and secondly, chocolate (including cooking chocolate) is not the cheapest when you are buying close to a kilogram of it!
The cake recipe itself was not that complicated once I had broken up the chocolate, but please be aware that this recipe cannot be completed quickly. In fact, the total time needed is at least four and a half hours, so I would not recommend getting going mid-afternoon on the cake. Fortunately nerves (and my alarm…) got me up nice and early!
One final point to note is that the cake itself is not that cheap to make. We have a well stocked pantry and also have a good amount of baking equipment but we still ended up not having everything and spending a fair bit of cash on the cake. Despite this, it was all worth it, as you shall now see!
First off with this recipe, you are dared to make the icing (and then not just wolf it down!). Initially, you melt some butter, let it cool, melt a lot of chocolate, mix it with cream, let it cool, and then mix it with icing sugar.
Finally, as if you needed a bit more calorific fun, throw in the cooled butter and put it somewhere cold (for me our garage) for about four hours to let it all firm up. Be careful that you fully incorporate the butter; this was a challenge and the only part of my cake I would have improved in retrospect.
After you have done this, you move onto the sponge. At this point you probably will be thinking that the amount of chocolate has to be reduced and surely it cannot be any richer or more indulgent! You would be wrong. Loads more chocolate has to be melted and mixed in along with gold top milk (just to make it even healthier!) and then put aside and left to cool.
In another bowl, you put sifted flour, ground almonds, and cocoa and finally baking powder and salt. Add into this a bit more butter, sugar that you have beaten together in another bowl with vanilla and eggs (added slowly), and some more gold top milk. Mix it all together (including the original and now cooled chocolate milk mixture) and fold it all together. It is much simpler than it sounds, I promise!
The actual recipe asks for three cake tins to be greased, lined and then popped in the oven. I had one bigger tin but in actual fact this one tin worked very well as the cake itself all fitted into the one tin.
While it took a lot longer to cook (and cool), when I cut it in half it had retained its moisture and was not too thick compared to the three layers that are proposed.
Clearly icing the cake itself was a fun job (lots of finger licking restraint needed) and the final effect is quite magnificent. It truly looks like the most indulgent cake ever!
Of course the proof is in the eating and I feel that the best judge of this was of course the birthday girl! Charlotte wolfed it down and declared it moist and luxurious and a big winner. I am not a chocolate person normally and I thoroughly enjoyed it despite my reservations that it would be far too rich!
As an added bonus, it went into Charlotte’s office a day later and was thoroughly enjoyed by her whole workplace (showing how big the cake was!).
Overall, this was a lovely dish to make, eat and to use for a pure chocolate indulgence moment! Well worth making.
Categories: Cooking Experiences