This chocolate Christmas cake has it all; a rich chocolate sponge smothered in lashings of thick ganache, topped with chocolate fingers, buttons, and stars.
Not everyone is a fan of traditional Christmas cake. Try this chocolate extravaganza from former Great British Bake Off winner Frances Quinn in place of your usual Christmas cake recipe for a real crowd-pleaser. “Hidden chocolate snow bites not only add an extra chocolate hit to the centre of the cake but serve up a surprise amid the chocolate ganache filling when the cake is sliced through,” says Frances.
- For the cake:
- 125g slightly salted butter
- 125g dark muscovardo sugar
- 200g golden syrup
- 50g dark chocolate, chopped up
- 200g self-raising flour
- 50g cocoa powder
- 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 250ml milk
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- For the ganache:
- 300ml double cream
- 150g dark chocolate, chopped up
- 150g Christmas chocolates like Dairy Milk Winter Wonderland chocolates
- To decorate:
- 6 white chocolate finger biscuits
- 2 packets of white chocolate buttons
- A selection of other Christmas chocolates, Frances used Cadbury's Snow Bites and Winter Wonderland Trees
- Icing sugar to dust
For the ganache: Place the chopped up chocolate into a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a medium saucepan over medium heat. When the cream is just coming to a boil, pour over the chopped chocolate, and stir until smooth and shiny and leave to cool completely, in the fridge if necessary.
For the cake: Preheat oven to 180°C/320°F/Gas Mark 4. Grease and line a deep base 7″/18cm round cake tin or 2 x 7″/18cm round shallow springform cake tins.
Melt the sugar, syrup and butter together in a medium pan over a medium heat, stirring on occasion with a wooden spoon. Once everything has dissolved, stir through the dark chocolate till melted and combined. Remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, sift all the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Pour and measure the milk into a Pyrex jug and beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Pour the syrup mixture from the pan into the dry ingredients and mix through, add the milk and egg mixture and combine everything together.
Pour into the lined tin/s and bake in the oven for approx 40/50 minutes if baking in the deep tin and 20/30 if in the 2 shallow tins. The cakes should be springy to the touch and a knife pushed into the centre of the cake should comes out clean. Don’t worry about any cracks on the surface of the cake as they will be covered by the ganache late. Leave the cakes to cool in tin/s before turning them out onto a wire rack to cool fully.
To assemble: Once both the cakes and ganache have fully cooled, you can start to assemble and decorate the cake. If you’ve baked a deep cake, carefully slice it in half to create two cakes to sandwich together. Place one of the cakes onto your plate and spoon a third of the ganache onto its centre and spread over with a palette knife. Carefully dot and press a handful of chocolates into the ganache, as if hidden in the filling. Place the other cake on top and sandwich together gently. Spoon and spread the remainder of the ganache over the top and sides of the cake using a palette knife.
To decorate, place the chocolate finger biscuits on the surface of the cake to create a snowflake pattern and then stick in the chocolate buttons sandwiched together to produce the snowflakes tips. Stick some more of the buttons around the side of the cake to look like falling snow. Scatter around remaining chocolates around the base of the cake.
Top tips for making this chocolate Christmas cake
"Mini indoor sparklers rather than candles can be inserted and ignited to make the cake even more magical, together with a dusting of icing sugar snow to fully set the scene," says Frances.