This simple-to-bake cake has a spectacular chequered icing which is not evident until the cake is cut. Ideal for special occasions, it looks and tastes like a sophisticated dessert but is no more complex than a standard sponge cake.
- 4 large or extra large eggs or 5 medium eggs
- 125 grams caster sugar
- 125 grams self-raising flour
- 50 grams white chocolate, finely grated.
- 900 ml thick double cream
- 150 grams plain chocolate – chopped
- 300 grams white chocolate – chopped
- 1 tablespoon brandy
- 2 tablespoons amaretto
- Chocolate flake for decoration
Preheat oven to 180ºC/350ºF or gas mark 4. Lightly grease and line a 23 cm tall sided cake tin or a single springform cake tin or 20 cm round sandwich tins – ensure the lining paper extends a couple of centimetres beyond the tops of the tins to allow the cakes to rise fully.
Whisk the eggs and sugar together in a large bowl with an electric whisk – the blend must be thick enough to leave a permanent trail when the whisk is lifted from the bowl.
In a separate large bowl, sift the flour three times so that it becomes as aerated as possible. Tip the flour into the egg mixture, along with the grated chocolate and fold together using a large metal spoon, being extremely gentle so as not to knock any air out of the mixture.
Pour the mixture into a single tin or divide between the prepared tins and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until just firm to the touch. Once the cake is cool enough to handle, turn it out onto a wire rack, peel away the paper and then leave to cool completely.
While the cake is cooling, put 300 ml of the cream in a double boiler and heat until it reaches a boil. Remove from the heat immediately and add the plain chocolate with the brandy and stir until smooth. Pour into a bowl and chill for two hours.
Wash the double boiler and repeat the process with the remaining cream, the chopped white chocolate and two tablespoons of amaretto. Chill alongside the plain chocolate cream. After two hours, whisk or beat each mixture so that it becomes thick and glossy.
Divide the white chocolate mixture in two and place half of it in a piping bag with a plain nozzle. Put all of the plain chocolate mixture into another piping bag with a plain nozzle.
Split the whole cake horizontally so you have two layers. Put the base layer on a pretty serving plate and then pipe alternating rings of white and dark chocolate cream onto the cake, working from the outside edge in to the centre and starting with a white chocolate ring. Ensure your rings are touching without being on top of each other, as vertical overlaps will damage the finished effect.
Place the top layer of cake on the bottom layer, ensuring it is exactly centred over the concentric rings of cream filling. Use the remaining white chocolate cream to cover the top and sides of the cake with a palette knife, swirling the knife to give a lightly textured effect.
Place the flake in a fold of baking paper and crush gently with a rolling pin, then pinch the baking paper and use it as a funnel to tip the chocolate onto the top of the cake in a spiral pattern.
Store this cake in the refrigerator and slice with a sharp knife before serving.
If you are not confident about your icing skills, cut a circle of baking paper a little larger than the plate and then fold it in half and cut out the centre so you are left with a ring of paper slightly larger than the plate with a hole in the middle. Put the circle on a serving plate and put the base layer of the cake on top of it. When you have finished icing the cake you just chill it for an hour then cut through the baking paper with scissors and ease it away to leave the serving place pristine.
It’s easiest to use the top of the cake as the base layer, as its firm springy surface will not form crumbs that lift from the surface and make icing more difficult.
This cake will keep for three days in the refrigerator but may need to be stored in an airtight plastic container to stop the cream icing from picking up the flavours of other items in the fridge.