Easter chocolate espresso cake

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Meringue espresso buttercream

4 egg whites (about 140 g)

¼ tsp fine sea salt

¼ tsp cream of tartar

180 g caster sugar

270 g unsalted butter, at room temperature (squidgy, not hard or melting)

1 tbsp vanilla bean paste

1 x 40 ml shot of espresso

50 ml warm water 

Method

Place the egg whites, salt, cream of tartar and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and briefly whisk together.

Remove the bowl from the stand and over a pan of simmering water (about 2 cm deep), taking care that the base of the bowl does not touch the water. Whisk the mixture with an electric or hand whisk until it becomes frothy and the mixture feels hot to the touch. Place the bowl back in the stand mixer and whisk for 5 minutes.

Add the butter (1 tbsp at a time), making sure it has been fully incorporated before adding the next spoonful.

Add the vanilla, then slowly pour in the espresso and warm water and continue to whisk for 5 minutes until the mix has a soft, mousse-like consistency.

Place the Tala star nozzle into the tip of the piping bag and spoon in the buttercream.

Chocolate espresso cake

200 g dark chocolate (about 70% cocoa), chopped

200 g butter, cubed

140 ml espresso

180 g plain flour

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

200 g light muscovado sugar

200 g golden caster sugar

30 g cocoa powder

3 medium eggs

75 ml full-fat milk

Chocolate, to decorate

Method

Heat the oven to 160 C/fan 140 C. Lightly oil a 23 cm Tala springform cake tin. Sprinkle cocoa powder around the side of the tin and line the base with baking parchment.

Put the chocolate in a medium pan with the butter, espresso and 85 ml cold water. Warm over a low heat until everything has melted, taking care not to overheat.

Mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda, sugars and cocoa powder, and squash out any lumps.

Beat the eggs with the milk.

Pour the melted chocolate and egg mixtures into the flour mixture, and stir to a smooth, runny consistency. Pour into the tin and bake for 80 minutes. Test whether the cake is cooked by inserting a skewer into the centre (if it comes out clean, with just a couple of crumbs, the cake is cooked). If liquid chocolate coats the tip of the skewer, cook for a further 5 minutes, then test again.

Leave to cool for a couple of minutes, then release from the tin. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack (ideally for at least 2 hours, which will make the cake easier to assemble).

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Chocolate ganache

100 g dark chocolate (72% cocoa)

130 ml double cream

1 ½ tsp golden syrup

1 ½ tsp unsalted butter, softened

Method

Make the ganache after the cake has cooled and you are ready to assemble, otherwise it will be too stiff to drizzle over the cake.

Chop up the chocolate into tiny pieces and place in a heatproof bowl.

Mix the cream and golden syrup in a small saucepan and place on a moderate heat until it just starts to bubble, then pour over the chocolate.

Leave to melt for 1 minute, then stir until the chocolate has dissolved and is fully incorporated into the cream.

Add the butter, and beat until the ganache is shiny, then pour into a piping bag.

Cake assembly

fullsizeoutput_a7f1Cut the cake horizontally into two pieces. Place the bottom half of the cake on a plate, suitable for serving.

Pipe stars of buttercream round the edge of the cake, then fill the centre with a swirl of buttercream and smooth it down with the Tala palette knife.

Pipe the chocolate ganache between the stars of buttercream. Place the second half of the cake on top.

Pipe a second circle of buttercream stars around the edge of the cake (or cover the top with buttercream stars).

Sprinkle grated chocolate over the top and decorate with chocolate eggs and Easter chicks.

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Links to Tala baking essentials

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tala-10A01183-Silicone-Spatulas-Handles/dp/B001DYTLEI/ref=sr_1_7?crid=1QMIWA33JE1F&keywords=tala+spatula+set&qid=1584351626&sprefix=tala+spatu%2Caps%2C333&sr=8-7

Spatulahttps://www.amazon.co.uk/Tala-Performance-Springform-Cake-Tin/dp/B015RKU6AQ/ref=sr_1_5?keywords=tala+baking+tins+23cm&qid=1584351687&sr=8-5&swrs=323A986A45BBC53F039E807AA3CAC5CD

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tala-Mini-Cooks-Measure-Blue/dp/B014BUHJ26/ref=sr_1_8?crid=15IE6TB0Z37T4&keywords=tala+measuring+cup&qid=1584351709&sprefix=tala+mea%2Caps%2C129&sr=8-8

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tala-Stainless-Steel-Palette-Knife/dp/B004W75YBW/ref=sr_1_2?crid=32OUTIQYXW1C3&keywords=tala%2Bpalette%2Bknife&qid=1584351735&refinements=p_89%3ATala&rnid=1632651031&sprefix=tala%2Bpalett%2Caps%2C130&sr=8-2&th=1

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tala-Icing-Star-Grass-Nozzles/dp/B07P6GK8HW/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?keywords=tala+piping+nozzles+star+grass&qid=1584351835&sr=8-1-fkmr0

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tala-Sugar-Shaker-Stainless-Steel/dp/B00K1BDCOO/ref=sr_1_6?keywords=tala+sugar+shaker&qid=1584351891&sr=8-6&swrs=22C267D6DD7C492040F397A9E45B8502

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