MINI CHOCOLATE CAKE WITH VANILLA MERINGUE FROSTING

7 October 2016

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My baby boy, my Huckleberry Finn turned 6 months old today. Wiggle as I sometimes like to affectionately call him has reached a momentous milestone. An age worth celebrating because that's a big achievement for both baby and parents.

Life has been a whirlwind since Finn entered our lives 6 months ago. Life has changed irrevocably. Everything has been new & foreign from changing nappies, to bathing a tiny human, breastfeeding and burping (because babies get a lot of wind). But 6 months on and we are old hands at these tasks. Now that Finn is old enough for solids, it's a whole new phase we are going through again. There have been ups and downs. Plenty of emotional, mental and physical strains. Parenting is hard, you are sleep deprived everyday and feeling like a zombie starts to feel normal. But I couldn't imagine life without Finn and he has changed our life for the better.

To mark this occasion, I made a mini birthday cake for him despite being too young to eat it (his parents more than willing to eat on his behalf). It's the first cake I have baked in months, and I miss having the time to bake more often. A dense chocolate cake covered in a layer of vanilla meringue frosting and decorated with other chocolatey bits. And because at the end of the day, chocolate cake always makes everything better.

Happy 0.5 birthday Finn, we love you!

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Makes a 15cm cake (1 layer)

CHOCOLATE CAKE

100g dark chocolate
80g unsalted butter, softened
60g soft light brown sugar
50g caster sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
80g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp buttermilk
Pinch of salt


VANILLA MERINGUE FROSTING

1 egg white
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup caster sugar
125g unsalted butter, softened and diced


METHOD

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas Mark 4. Line a 15cm baking tin.

To make the chocolate cake, melt the dark chocolate in a bowl sitting over a pan of simmering water. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

Beat the butter and caster sugar and light brown sugar until pale and light. Add the beaten egg and vanilla extract while continuing to beat. Ensure the sides of the bowl are scraped down and mix well until combined.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt into the mixture and combine. Add the melted chocolate and buttermilk and continue to beat until smooth and combined. 

Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake for 30-35 mins until cooked through. Insert a skewer and if it comes out clean, it is done. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 10 mins before removing it onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, beat the egg white and caster sugar in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Whisk until the mixture is thick and glossy. Place the mixture into a new and clean bowl and continue to whisk until doubled in volume. The meringue should have stiff, glossy peaks. Then add the diced butter and vanilla extract and beat until you achieve a smooth and creamy frosting.

Spread the frosting onto the cake and decorate as you like.


NOTES
This makes a single layer cake. To make 2 layers, just double the recipe.

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