Light Chocolate Cake
This light chocolate cake recipe taken from Red Velvet and Chocolate Heartache by Harry Eastwood, published by Bantam Press (2009)

LIGHT CHOCOLATE CAKE INGREDIENTS

  • 3 medium free-range eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup caster sugar (divided)
  • 1 1/3 cup peeled and grated butternut squash
  • 3/4 cup white rice flour
  • 3 Tbsp. good-quality cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cup ground almonds
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1⁄4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

LIGHT CHOCOLATE CAKE ICING INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups icing sugar, sieved
  • 1/4 cup mascarpone
  • 4 tsp cocoa powder
  • small pinch of salt

GARNISH

  • handful spray roses, (with stems at least 2 cm long)

YOU WILL NEED

  • 2 18 cm-diameter x 5 cm-deep loose-bottomed tins

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Line the tins with baking parchment and brush a little vegetable oil over the base and sides.
Whisk the eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl for 4 full minutes until pale and fluffy. Beat in the grated butternut squash, followed by the flour, cocoa powder, ground almonds, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Add the buttermilk before beating again one last time to make sure that all the ingredients are well introduced to one another.

Pour the mixture evenly into both tins, then place in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes.

Once cooked, remove the cakes from the oven, unmold, peel off the baking parchment and leave them to cool down completely on a wire rack.

You can make the icing whilst the cakes are cooking, as long as you don’t ice them until they are completely cold, otherwise the icing will run off. Beat the butter with 1/2 a cup of sugar in a large mixing bowl. You will need to work them together patiently, using the back of a wooden spoon. It will seem like an impossible task at first, but they will eventually turn into a lovely rich paste.

Once you reach this stage, beat vigorously for 10 seconds to loosen the butter even further. Add the mascarpone, cocoa powder and salt, as well as the remaining sugar. Beat once again to combine.

Refrigerate the icing for 15 minutes. Give it a good beating with your wooden spoon before icing the middle and top of the cold light chocolate cake. Decorate the top with flowers before serving. – Harry Eastwood is a resident judge on Food Network Canada’s The Big Bake

Cooking Tips with Harry Eastwood

BEFORE YOU START BAKING A LIGHT CHOCOLATE CAKE, CHECK THE EXPIRY DATE on your baking soda. It expires much quicker than we often realize and the cake could rise unevenly in the oven if it’s out of date. You’d be amazed how many people never check this and they end up thinking that they’re at fault when the cake doesn’t rise, when in fact, the raising agent has expired.

NEVER OPEN THE OVEN DOOR whilst baking a light chocolate cake, no matter how curious you are to see what’s going on inside. The sealed hot air inside is essential to making sure that the cake rises properly. If you have an oven with a glass door, simply make sure that the light is on so you can see through the door. If the cake still has a bit of a dip in the centre, keep cooking it even if the recipe time says it’s done. The middle is always the last bit of the cake to cook through.

ALWAYS COOL THE LIGHT CHOCOLATE CAKE THOROUGHLY BEFORE ICING IT. There is a surprising amount of residual heat left in a cooked cake, even when it feels cool enough to touch. Make sure you refrigerate it for at least half an hour after it’s cooled down in the ambient before icing.

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