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Double fudgey chocolate cake with a gingerbread forest


Serves: 12-16
timePrep time: 45 mins
timeTotal time:
Double fudgey chocolate cake with a gingerbread forest
Photograph by William Lingwood

Double fudgey chocolate cake with a gingerbread forest


Serves: 12-16
timePrep time: 45 mins
timeTotal time:

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Nutritional information (per serving)
Calories
558Kcal
Fat
35gr
Saturates
21gr
Carbs
56gr
Sugars
40gr
Fibre
2gr
Protein
6gr
Salt
0.8gr

Sarah Randell

Sarah Randell

Our former Food Director, and previously food editor to Delia Smith, Sarah has written more than 1000 recipes for the magazine. She is also author of Family Baking and Marmalade; A Bittersweet Cookbook among others.

See more of Sarah Randell’s recipes
Sarah Randell

Sarah Randell

Our former Food Director, and previously food editor to Delia Smith, Sarah has written more than 1000 recipes for the magazine. She is also author of Family Baking and Marmalade; A Bittersweet Cookbook among others.

See more of Sarah Randell’s recipes

Ingredients

For the cakes:
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 200g really soft butter, plus a little extra for greasing
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • a small pinch of ground ginger
  • 250g light muscovado sugar
  • 2 tbsp crème fraîche
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
For the gingerbread trees:
  • 50g butter
  • 25g light muscovado sugar
  • 125g plain flour
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 tsp black treacle
For the filling:
  • 100g dark chocolate (about 50% cocoa solids)
  • 150g icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • a pinch of ground ginger
  • 100g cream cheese
  • 75g really soft unsalted butter
For the ganache:
  • 200g dark chocolate (about 50% cocoa solids)
  • 200ml double cream
To decorate:
  • gold edible glitter
  • gold candles

Step by step

Get ahead
You can make the recipe up to the end of step 9 up to 2 days ahead – store the cakes and trees in airtight containers, chill the filling but bring it back to room temperature before using. The cakes also freeze well. The assembled cake (before decorating) will keep in the fridge overnight or it can be frozen (before adding the ganache and decorating). Freeze the filled cake on a board, then transfer to a freezer bag. It will take 3-4 hours to defrost at room temperature.
  1. For the cakes, preheat the oven to 180°C, fan 160°C, gas 4, and dissolve the cocoa in 3 tablespoons of boiling water; cool. Butter and line two 20cm x 4cm deep sandwich tins.
  2. Sieve the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and ginger into a bowl. Put the butter and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk for a few minutes until smooth and fluffy. Mix in the crème fraîche and cooled cocoa liquid. Keep whisking on a slow speed and add the lightly beaten eggs alternately with the sifted flour mixture, until combined.
  3. Divide the mixture between the tins and bake for 25-30 minutes until firm to the touch.
    Tip
    This is a showstopper of a cake and will prove a winner with adults and children alike. Don't be tempted to use chocolate with a higher cocoa solid content or it will be too bitter. If gingerbread isn't your thing, dig out your favourite family Christmas cake decorations and add those to the top instead.
  4. Meanwhile, make the gingerbread dough for the trees. Heat the butter and sugar in a pan until melted, stirring occasionally, then cool.
  5. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and spices into the bowl of an electric mixer and pour in the melted mixture. Add the golden syrup and treacle, and mix to combine. Bring the mixture together into a ball, flatten it slightly, wrap in clingfilm and chill for 30 minutes.
  6. As soon as the cakes are ready, take them out of the oven and increase the temperature to 190°C, fan 170°C, gas 5. Cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks, remove the base papers and leave to cool.
  7. Roll out the chilled gingerbread dough between two large pieces of clingfilm to a 4-5mm thickness, then using tree-shaped cutters, stamp out shapes and transfer them to a large baking sheet. You will have more than you need for the cake – the recipe makes 15-20 depending on the size of your cutters – but they keep well in an airtight jar.
  8. Bake on a lined baking tray for 8-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  9. For the filling, melt the chocolate in a bowl over barely simmering water, then set aside to cool. Sieve the icing sugar, cocoa powder and ground ginger into a bowl and add a pinch of salt. Beat the cream cheese and butter in an electric mixer until smooth, add the icing sugar and cocoa mix, and beat. Mix in the cooled melted chocolate.
  10. For the ganache, finely chop the chocolate and tip it into a bowl. Heat the cream in a pan just to simmering point and then pour onto the chocolate; stir together until melted and combined, then leave to cool, stirring now and then, until it is cold and thickened – about 30 minutes.
  11. Sandwich the cakes together with the filling; spread the ganache over the top and sides. To decorate the cake, sprinkle the top with edible glitter. Sprinkle the gingerbread trees with glitter and push them into the top of the cake. Finish with a few gold candles.

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