Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Auntie Char's Birthday Cake

We have just had a few lovely days away on holiday. Some of which we spent with my sister in the lovely city of Dunedin. The weather was kind to us while we were there - which was more can could be said the rain, cold wind and snow on the mountains in other parts of the country.

Dunedin is a great place to visit: coming from Christchurch it's a novelty to visit a city with a bustling CBD. We cruised the Octagon for eating places; enjoyed the local produce at the Saturday Market; visited great vintage shops; sweltered in the butterfly house; paddled on the beach at McAndrew Bay; and had tea, feed the fish, and enjoyed as much contemplation as one manages to get with a 3 and a half year old at the very impressive Chinese Gardens.
It was great to spend some time with my sister and  help her to celebrate her birthday. Little Miss 3 had a great time with Auntie Char-Char. Though I think Char may have been looking forward to some quiet time after her departure. Trendy inner city apartments are not ideal places for small children, even when they are big enough to hold a badminton court; Little Miss loved the novelty of it all and we were just glad none of the neighbours complained about the excited squeals.

We thought it would be nice to bake the birthday girl a cake. I gave her a Sophie Dahl cook book for Christmas, so with a few days up my sleeve I had the opportunity to have a good look through it. The recipes look really good and the biographical commentary sprinkled through-out the book make for really interesting reading. Anyway, it was an easy decision to try the flour-less Chocolate Cake. Armed with all the ingredients and my sisters antique Kenwood mixer, the cake came out quite well. I changed the method as Char doesn't have a kitchen whizz. 

Sophie Dahl's Chocolate cake

300g dark semi sweet chocolate
1 cup caster sugar
180ml water
225g butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
6 eggs - separated 

Preheat the oven to Bake at 180 deg. C. Grease and line a round 25cm spring form baking tin.
In a large saucepan melt the chocolate, butter and sugar together over a low heat. Take the pan from the heat and whisk in the water until the mixture is smooth. Add the egg yolks and vanilla and whisk again. Set aside.
In a large clean mixer bowl whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form. Don't over mix: if the whites start to look dry they will be difficult to fold into the cake.
Pour one third of the chocolate mix into the whites and begin to gently fold together. Add the remaining thirds in two steps. Be careful not to knock the air out of the mixture as there is no other raising agent in the recipe.
Bake for approximately 45 minutes. The cake will puff up in the oven, and the centre will still have some wobble. It will sink down once it starts to cool. Let it sit for a few hours before attempting to get it out of the tin.
Dust with icing sugar and whatever fruit you have on hand. At this time of year raspberries would be amazing.

After a really delicious birthday dinner at Two Chefs, we came back to the apartment for birthday cake pudding; I thought the cake would fall into pieces for sure, given I got it out of the oven just before we left for the restaurant, but it stuck together. It's a really rich cake, and needed to be served with the cream. Having no flour makes it perfect for serving to Gluten free guests.   


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you. It really was good. Especially since it wasn't long out of the oven.
      We had a lovely time in Dunedin; looking forward to visiting again soon.