Monday, 15 February 2016

Chocolate, Popcorn & Honeycomb Drizzle Cake

When you’re looking for a cake with the ultimate WOW factor then this is it! I made this bad boy for both of my brothers Birthday celebrations last week and it went down a treat. We took the cake out for dinner and it got so many great comments (and longing looks). Although on first glance the recipe looks pretty complex if you take each stage slowly and read through all the steps before you begin then it is really achievable, just don’t try to decorate it after a few glasses of Prosecco, I made this mistake and practically had to re-cover the whole thing the next day, massive FAIL. 

This cake has got quite a lot of elements, if you spread out the work over a few days it makes this easier to deal with. Bake the cakes up to 2 days in advance, cool then wrap well in cling film or freeze for up to a month. Make the honeycomb and popcorn the day before. It’s best to make the icing just before you use it as it makes it easier to spread. If you want to cheat a bit then buy ready made honeycomb and a bag of toffee popcorn! No one will know any difference and it takes the pressure off a little bit. 

I used my trusty, fool-proof chocolate sponge recipe and adapted the icing and the honeycomb from a BBC Good Food recipe for their Chocolate Honeycomb cake. I added the popcorn for an extra treat and it really did compliment the rest of the flavours so is well worth doing! Happy Baking.

Chocolate Drizzle Cake with White Malteser Frosting, Caramel Popcorn & Honeycomb.
Serves 20
Prep 1 hour 30 plus cooling Cook 50 mins

250g butter
250g light brown soft sugar
4 eggs
175g self-raising flour
75g cocoa powder
½ tsp baking powder
4 tbsp milk
pinch salt
250g pack slightly salted butter, softened
750g icing sugar
3 tbsp white maltesers hot chocolate powder (chocolate lumps sieved out)
1 tsp vanilla extract
280g tub full-fat cream cheese
100g dark chocolate, finely chopped
75ml double cream
100g granulated sugar
15g salty popcorn
100g golden caster sugar
3 tbsp golden syrup
1 tsp bicarb
37g pack Maltesers

1 Heat the oven to gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C. Line the bases and the sides of 3 x 18cm (7in) loose-bottomed cake tins. In a stand mixer, or using a hand-held mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time, then the milk and lastly mix in the flour, cocoa and baking powder.

2 Divide the batter between the prepared cakes tins (if you want to be precise weigh it, it was about 330g per tin) and bake for 25 minutes, or until risen and springy to the touch. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

3 Make the icing. In your largest mixing bowl, beat the butter with half the icing sugar, the maltesers powder (make sure you sieve it first to remove the white chocolate chunks) and vanilla until smooth. Add the remaining icing sugar and the cream cheese, and beat again until well combined – don’t over mix or the icing may become runny. I always cover my entire kitchen and self (and dogs) with a cloud of icing sugar when I do this, I try to avoid it but it never works out. Just embrace and clean after. 

4 For the caramel popcorn, melt the sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Once you start to see pools of melted sugar, gently swirl the pan to encourage the rest of the sugar to melt. Using a wooden spoon, stir together and heat until all the sugar crystals have dissolved and the colour looks like runny honey. Take off the heat, stir in 2 tbsp water then put the pan back onto the heat to melt any clumps that have formed. Stir in the popcorn and pour onto a lined baking tray to cool.

5 Make the honeycomb. Grease a baking tray with a little oil. Put the sugar and golden syrup in a large pan. Warm over a medium heat and leave to bubble to a liquid caramel, but don’t stir. When you have a deep amber colour add the bicarbonate of soda and quickly stir into the syrup. Pour onto your oiled baking tray and leave to set for at least 30 minutes, or overnight.

6 Now for the fun part, building the beast. Remember guys; no Prosecco until after the cake is done!! Stick one of the sponges on a cake stand with a little of the icing. Use 1/3 of the icing to stack the cakes and choose your neatest one for the top, placing it flat side up. Next use a palette knife to roughly cover the entire cake with a thin layer. Don’t worry too much at this stage this is called a crumb coat and ensures that your final layer is crumb-free. Chill the cake for at least 30 minutes to firm up the icing.

7 Once the icing is chilled, use the remaining icing to completely cover the cake. This is easiest if you pile the icing on top of the cake, then use a palette knife to ease it over the edge and down the sides. Chill for another 30 minutes.

8 Make the drizzle. Finely chop or grate the dark chocolate and pop into a bowl and heat the cream in a small pan until just steaming. Pour the cream over the chocolate and leave to melt for 5-10 mins. Stir to make a glossy ganache, and then set aside to firm up a little. Pour into a piping bag.

9 Remove the cake from the fridge, snip the end of the piping bag, you want a thin controllable stream so don’t cut off too much. Pipe ganache over the edges of the cake, so it drizzles down the side, start at the back of the cake to get the hang of it. Fill in the middle of the top of the cake with chocolate too. Top with the popcorn, broken shards of honeycomb and malteasters, get creative here and just keep layering up, SERVE!

You can be rough with the icing at this point as the next layer will be for neatening! 

THIS was attempt number one...after Prosecco and with very old chocolate that had been in my cupboard for over a year, don't do it kids!! 

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