Mary Berry’s Marbled Chocolate Ring Cake
“We’re going to make a chocolate cake for your birthday Daddy.”
At least a chocolate cake with kids wouldn’t be as complicated as custard creams.
I couldn’t risk another disaster for Jon’s birthday (remember the ill-fated savarin), and if I was going to have “help”, I’d have to play it safe. I turned to Mary Berry and a marbled chocolate ring cake from the Baking Bible.
First, I made sure that my ring cake tin was the right size (3 pints) and, rather than lining it with strips of baking parchment as per the recipe, I gave it a good coating of Cake-Release. I always use this with ring and sphere cakes and it hasn’t yet let me down. Not today Cake-Release. Not today.
Mary Berry makes this cake using her usual all-in-one method i.e. she uses a combination of self-raising flour and baking powder and mixes everything together at the same time. I mixed softened butter (softened in the microwave at 360W for 20 seconds from room temperature), caster sugar, eggs, self-raising flour and baking powder in the KitchenAid. I had some help with the eggs and bowl scraping. Matthew’s egg technique is improving by the day. Next time it’ll be one-handed (he’s been watching Paul Hollywood). I can’t wait!
We put about half of the mixture into the bottom of the cake tin, then added some cocoa powder and hot water into the rest, beat it together, and put that in too.
We swirled the mixture around the tin with a knife and put it into the oven at 160° fan. It was cooked in the 40 minutes stipulated by the recipe. I let the cake cool in the tin for a couple of minutes, loosened the edges with a palette knife, held my breath, turned the tin over and… thanked God for Cake Release.
The finished cake is covered with dark chocolate and then drizzled with milk chocolate. I was a bit confused about the chocolate, since the recipe says “plain chocolate (39% cocoa solids).” Is this figure for cocoa solids a minimum, a maximum, or an optimum? All of the posh dark chocolate has a much higher percentage. The nearest I could get to 39% was Tesco’s own brand of plain cooking chocolate at 54%. I’m not sure whether Mary Berry would be happy with Tesco’s own. I think she has more of a Green & Blacks air about her.
To make the icing you’re supposed to melt the dark chocolate with water and butter over a pan of simmering water. I forgot the butter. I was distracted by a high-speed chase through the kitchen. Superman and Batman were hot on the trail of Elsa who, apparently, needed rescuing from a lion. I didn’t realise the butter was missing until I’d covered half the cake.
I let the icing set for about an hour, and then drizzled melted milk chocolate – Tesco’s own again I’m afraid – over the top. The recipe does suggest using a piping bag for this bit, but I used a teaspoon. They’re a lot less fiddly than piping bags.
Perhaps my cake doesn’t quite have the finesse of the cake in the Baking Bible picture, but I was pretty pleased with how it turned out.
Was it worth it?
It was a good chocolate cake. It looked and tasted good, although, perhaps there could have been more of the marble effect inside (I think we may have been a touch over-enthusiastic with the mixing). I don’t think anyone noticed that the chocolate wasn’t of the highest quality, or that the icing lost its shine pretty quickly. Nobody’s mentioned anything anyway.