Chocolate Chess Cake

Remember last season of the GBBO when they asked them to make hidden design cakes on their very first episode? This is where this cake comes from. If you’re feeling overindulgent and wants to faff about in the kitchen a bit, then this is the right dessert for you. It might look complicated, but really it is just a matter of piping circles of cake batter and then assembling it all together. As easy as pie – or cake, you choose.

The name obviously derives from the effect you get once you cut into it, although I have to say it looks astonishing even whole. I used Cadbury flakes for the decoration on top as I still don’t know how to temper chocolate (but will make up for it soon!), but feel free to use all sorts of decoration. Whatever you do, please use a decent white chocolate here. I am now a convert of Black’s as their white chocolate contains real vanilla beans and tastes amazing. I tried it in an apricot and white chocolate tray bake and it was delicious.

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Ingredients (for the sponge mixture)

  • 350g unsalted butter, softened
  • 350g golden caster sugar
  • 1 tsp creme de cacao blanc liqueur
  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 350g self raising flour (or about 330g plain flour with the addition of bicarb and baking powder)
  • pinch of salt
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 4 tbsp milk

Ingredients (for the white chocolate ganache)

  • 175g white chocolate, finely chopped
  • 125ml whipping cream
  • 50g unsalted butter

Ingredients (for the dark chocolate ganache)

  • 300g dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 300ml whipping cream
  • 1 packet of Cadbury flakes

Method

  1. Line and grease 3 x 20cm Victoria sponge round cake tins. Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
  2. Make up the sponge mixture by creaming the butter and the sugar together, then slowly adding the eggs one tablespoon at a time and adding a bit of flour if you see the mixture curdling. If it does curdle, don’t worry. Just add the rest of the flour in and give it a good beating (a freestanding mixer is best for this) to obtain a creamy and smooth consistence. Add the cacao liqueur and slowly fold in the rest of the flour.
  3. Transfer half of the  mixture (yes, I weighed it) to another bowl. Sift the cocoa into it, then add 2 tbsp milk. Mix to combine.
  4. Add the rest of the milk (2 tbsp) to the rest of the ‘white’ mixture, then also mix to combine.
  5. Now, transfer each mixture into a piping bag fitted with no tube, then snip off the ends of both piping bags and get ready.
  6. Starting with the chocolate mixture, pipe a ring around the edges of one of the tins, then grab the plain mixture and pipe another smaller ring just inside that one. Continue alternating the chocolate and the vanilla mixture until you have covered the whole bottom of the cake tin. Ensure the rings are touching when you pipe them. Repeat the process for the second cake tin, but invert the order of chocolate and plain mixture for the third one.
  7. Bake the sponges for 25 minutes, or until golden and springy to the touch. Remove from the oven, let them cool slightly, then invert onto a wire rack and let them cool completely.
  8. In the meantime, make the white chocolate ganache by melting the butter in the cream over a low heat, then folding in the white chocolate and stirring until smooth. Also make the dark chocolate ganache by heating the cream up in a saucepan, then transferring it into the bowl with the chocolate. Let it stand for a couple of minutes, then stir to melt the chocolate and let it cool.
  9. To assemble your cake, set one of the sponges with the outer chocolate ring upside down on a cake stand/platter, then top with half of the cooled white chocolate ganache. Top with the outer plain ring, then spread the rest of the white chocolate ganache. Cover with the last chocolate outer ring sponge. Cover the top and the sides with the dark chocolate ganache, ensuring the surface is smooth. Crumble the flakes on top of the cake. Slice for a dramatic effect.

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