Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Birthday Boy

Yesterday was Mr. Wren's birthday. I'm not going to tell you how old he is, because it's a year younger than me and that's just plain depressing. I gave him
three new records (his Christmas present was a record player and now he will now only listen to vinyl!) and another gift that the children declared "really boring" but I was rather pleased with that took a lot of research to find the right one and cost me a fortune and that he had mentioned he wanted and that was....a fireside set. Yep. Maybe the children had a point.

Hopefully my baked offering made up for the 'boring' gift. In tribute to Mr. Wren's love of a Terry's Chocolate Orange, I came up with a Chocolate Orange Birthday Cake.

I adapted Nigella's Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake by leaving out her 2 tsps of vanilla extract and replacing it with some orange extract to make it into a chocolate orange sponge. I then made a classic chocolate ganache and added some more orange extract to that. It was a bit of an experiment, but what can I say? It worked. Boy, did it work....


200g plain flour
200g caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
40g best quality cocoa
175g soft unsalted butter
2 large eggs
150ml sour cream
1 1/2 tsp orange extract

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/ gas mark 4.
Butter and line two 20cm sandwich tins.

Put all the ingredients into a food processor and process until you have a smooth thick batter.

Divide mixture between the prepared tins and bake for 25-35mins (dependent on your oven) or until a cake tester or skewer comes out clean. (Start checking after 25mins).

Remove to a wire rack and cool in tins for 10 mins before turning out.

When completely cool make the ganache icing:


250ml double cream
250g good quality chocolate ( your own mix of dark and milk to taste. I used half milk, half dark)
1 tsp orange extract (or to taste)

Finely chop the chocolate (easy in a processer - messy without!)
Place the chocolate rubble in a shallow bowl.

Place the double cream in a small pan over a low heat and bring to the boil (but do not allow it to boil).
Pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Leave to melt for 5 minutes.

Beat (with an electric whisk for ease) until smooth and glossy leave for a few minutes until thick enough to cover, but still thin enough to spread.

Sandwich the two cakes together with around a third of the icing. Top the cake and smother the sides with the remaining.

Decorate in whatever way you choose - I grated over a little milk chocolate and orange zest and sprinkled with gold stars.

Attempt to wait until the candle has been blown out before slicing and gorging yourself silly. Yum.

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