When I started my supper club back in 2009, sparking a movement of home restaurants and pop-ups around the UK, I had to make some sacrifices. I gave up my living room, my TV and my comfy sofas to turn it into a 'restaurant'. Now I have 3 long tables down the centre, a side board with cutlery and glasses, the general paraphenalia of a restaurant. In the middle, a marble chimney place with a log fire adds a humming warmth to wintery events.
But this chef needs a comfortable seat at the end of a 16 hour day. I have ordered a purple 'Wilfred'
sofa from Out and Out Original
. which has a high back that is ideal for sitting in front of the log fire, keeping out the draughts. Its winged shape alludes to the Edwardian era, when my flat was built. I like a blend of vintage and vibrantly new, so this shade of lavender is just the ticket.
In baking I like to use floral flavours. This recipe combines violet, in the form of crystallised petals, sugar and sugared balls, with chocolate. Perfect for Easter! It's quite an adult cake in that I'm using dark chocolate, but use milk chocolate if you would like a sweeter confection.
Chocolate violet cake recipe
2 x 20cm round cake tins
Baking parchment or quick release spray
For the cake:
250g dark chocolate, broken up into pieces
300g salted butter, room temperature
2tsp vanilla paste
325g light brown sugar
6 large eggs
250g plain flourFor the buttercream interior:
500g icing sugar
250g salted butter
1 or 2tbsp milkFor the ganache exterior:
300g dark chocolate
150ml double creamDecoration:4tbsp violet sugar
A handful of candied violet petals
A few Violet sugar balls/pearls
Preheat the oven to 160C.
Grease and line the cake sandwich tins.
Melt the chocolate in a microwave (only 30 seconds at a time, we don't want the chocolate to seize) or in a bowl over a pan of hot water (the bain marie method).
Combine the butter, sugar and vanilla in a stand mixer until fluffy.
Gradually add the 6 eggs one at a time, beating in between each addition.
Add the melted chocolate and continue to beat.
Pour in half the flour, combining lightly.
Add the rest of the flour.
Divide between the 2 tins, around 700g each.
Bake for 45 minutes.
Remove the cake tins from the oven and let them cool.For the buttercream:
Beat the butter until fluffy, then add the icing sugar. Add a little milk to loosen.For the ganache:
Melt the chocolate and cream together in the microwave (30 seconds at a time) or use the bain marie method. Stir until well combined.Putting together the cake:
With a sharp serrated knife, thinly slice off the top of each cake so that they fit together. If the sides are uneven, use the knife to trim round.
Use a palette knife or butter knife to spread the buttercream to sandwich together the chocolate cakes.
Use a thin layer of the buttercream to spread a 'crumb coat' over the rest of the cake, doing the sides first so you can spin it around by holding the top. Add the 'crumb coat' to the top. A crumb coat is a very thin layer of icing or buttercream that allows the second coat to adhere.
Finally, using the palette knife, spread the ganache over the sides and top of the cake.
Leave the ganache to dry for a few minutes, then scatter the violet sugar over the top of the cake.
Add the crystallised violets around the cake.
Stud the sides with the violet pearls.
Optional: add a large purple flower to the middle of the cake.