Chocolate Fudge Cake

The original recipe for this cake is from The Hummingbird Bakery’s own Home Sweet Home cooking book, although they call it Chicago Fudge Cake to honour, they say, the US windy city. Seeing as I have not been to Chicago, nor do I think it really has something to do with fudge, I decided to change to a more generic name. The recipe, however, is the same. This is a glorious and very rich three-tiered chocolate cake, with extra crunch and sweetness provided for by the fudge on top and in between the layers. I added some glitter on top for extra wow effect, but that really is unnecessary. This cake is a prodigy in terms of style and substance. I recently made this towering cake for my birthday party and I am yet to find someone who tried the cake and did not like it. I think the fact it contains approximately half a kilo of dark chocolate helps, although I like to think the combination of rich ganache and sweet caramel is a winner.

As the title says, there should have been fudge on the top, not caramel. Despite having followed the recipe to the letter, I did not manage to get a crumbly fudge but ended up with a toffee fudge instead, the type you would eat on Bonfire Night here in the UK. Don’t get me wrong, it was still delicious and crumbly. Plus I have never been that good with caramel (I tend to get very impatient). The added bonus of this cake is that, if you leave it in the sun or in a warm environment, the caramel on top tends to slightly melt, providing some soft chewy sweetness to bite into… Right, that’s it, go make it now!

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Ingredients (for the fudge)

  • 55g unsalted butter
  • 180g caster sugar
  • 90g light brown sugar
  • 125ml double cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Ingredients (for the sponge)

  • 110g cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp instant espresso powder mixed with 240ml recently boiled water / 240ml strong coffee
  • 125ml soured cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 210g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 225g unsalted butter, softened
  • 340g golden caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs

Ingredients (for the chocolate ganache)

  • 725ml double cream
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 170g unsalted butter
  • 60g golden syrup
  • 450g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), finely chopped

Method

  1. Start by making the sponges. Grease the sides and line the bottom of 3 x 20cm loose-bottomed sandwich tins with parchment paper. Pre-heat the oven to 170C.
  2. In a medium bowl/jug, mix the cocoa powder with the coffee mixture with a whisk, ensuring there are no lumps. Allow to cool slightly.
  3. In a jug, mixed the now slightly cooled coffee mixture, soured cream and vanilla extract. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a freestanding mixer fitted with the leaf attachment, cream the butter with the sugar together, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well and scraping the bottom and the sides of the bowl after each addition.
  5. On slow speed, start adding the other ingredients by alternating the dry mixture with the coffee and sour cream on. Do not overmix or your cake will be tough. Divide the mixture evenly among the three tins, then bake for 30-35 minutes until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
  6. Next, move on to the ganache. Mix the double cream, vanilla extract, butter and golden syrup in a heavy bottomed pan over medium heat, then bring to a gentle simmer.
  7. Transfer the chopped chocolate to a large bowl, then remove the cream mixture from the heat and pour it into the chocolate. Whisk/Mix until smooth, glossy and no pieces of chocolate are visible. Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for a couple of hours or until the mixture had hardened but is still soft enough to spread.
  8. Last, prepare the fudge. Line a baking tray with baking parchment (particularly suited are the Silko pads or similar ones). Mix the butter, vanilla extract, sugars and cream in a saucepan, then cook over medium heat, stirring regularly until the sugars have dissolved.
  9. Cook over low-to-medium heat, without stirring, until the sugar reaches the hard crack stage, which corresponds to 150C on a sugar thermometer. Remove the pan from the heat and gently pour the hot caramel on the lined baking tray. Allow to cool completely, then break into shards/pieces.
  10. To assemble the cake, ensure the sponges are completely cool and the ganache is of a spreadable consistency. Place a small dot of the chocolate ganache on the cake stand/platter you will be using and position the first layer on top. This ensures the cake will not move. Spread about 4-5 tablespoons of the ganache on top and smooth it out using a palette knife. Sprinkle with some of the crushed/broken fudge, then top with the following sponge. Continue this way, alternating sponges, ganache and caramel, until you have used all three sponges, then use the ganache to frost the top and sides of the cake and cover it completely. Decorate the top of the cake with the remaining fudge pieces. Enjoy!

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