Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Urban Family Easter

When my friends and I realised that our beloved families were all jetting off on holiday over Easter weekend and we were not invited, something had to be done to prevent us from sitting alone and dejected in our respective homes, stuffing chocolate rabbits into our cakeholes and wailing.

As has happened so often in the past when our biological families have let us down, the urban family came to the rescue. I offered to make a Sunday roast, however following the insane folly of drinking buckets of wine on an empty stomach for a marathon period during the boat race, I wasn't feeling in tip-top cooking mode. I found myself in Tescos on Sunday morning, confused and bleary eyed, with no recollection of why I had made the journey. I bought some mini eggs and 3 organic leeks and went home. I hate that brain-muffling fog that a hangover induces, whereby you have no idea who you are or what you're doing, but with the niggling fear that it's something important and you're on the brink of cocking it up.

Luckily I'd prepared a Nigella Chocolate Truffle Meringue Cake in advance, because that's just how I roll; super organised and domesticated. In reality pre-preparation is an absolute necessity in my life since I'm drunk most of the time, and if I didn't cook in advance during the scant windows of sobriety that pepper my life, I'd probably starve to death. Following my meringue hell of the previous week, I was a bit sceptical about trying again, but I'm a plucky sort, so I rolled up my sleeves and got cracking. I'm pleased to report, it went pretty well. I'd venture so far as to say that anyone could make this cake. It's basically chocolate and cream poured into a cake tin...

1 egg white
50g caster sugar
2 teaspoons cocoa
drop of wine vinegar
400g dark chocolate
60ml rum (I substituted coffee)
60ml golden syrup
500ml double cream
cocoa to decorate
Serving Size : Makes 10–12 slices 
Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C. Line a 20cm springform tin with baking parchment and oil the sides with some flavourless oil; almond would be good, I used vegetable.
Whisk the egg white until foamy peaks form and then whisk in the sugar a little at a time to make a thick, glossy mixture. Sieve over the cocoa and sprinkle with the vinegar, and whisk again to combine everything. Spread as evenly as you can over the bottom of the prepared cake tin and then put in the oven to bake for 15–20 minutes.Mine needed around 25 minutes, but do check after 15. 

Melt the chocolate with the rum and syrup in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and let it sit off the heat for 5 minutes or so.
Whisk the cream until it thickens slightly – it should be slightly aerated and have the consistency of thick pouring custard, no thicker. Pour into the chocolate mixture, beating gently until everything is amalgamated. 
 Pour into the meringue-bottomed tin and cover the springform with clingfilm, and put in the fridge for a night or day, or for up to two days. 
A short time before you are ready to serve the cake, take it out of the fridge and let it lose its chill. It will be easier to spring open if the chocolate truffle filling has become less fridge cold, although you don’t want soft room temperature chocolate. 
Spring the cake free, then transfer to a plate without removing the base unless you think you can with ease (and have one of those big round spatulas). Smooth the sides with a spatula if you want a smarter look, and push the cocoa through a sieve to dust the top of the cake. I put some mini eggs on the top to look festive.
It was a very nice cake, and really very easy to make. You can't really eat much of it though due to the insane richness, so I've got most of it in the larder and I'm not really sure what to do with it. Ideas on a postcard please (can you freeze it?)

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