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    Dark Fruits and Flowers Chocolate Cake

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    Dark Fruits and Flowers Chocolate Cake

    This is a mysterious and sumptuous cake. Gathering the velvety petals and black fruits is half the fun of making it.

    • Preparation time: 30 minutes
    • Cooking time: 40 minutes, plus cooling
    • Total time: 70 minutes, plus cooling 60 minutes 10 minutes

    Serves: 10

    Ingredients

    • 350g self-raising flour
    • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
    • 225g unsalted butter, softened
    • 350g dark brown sugar
    • 3 eggs
    • 3 tbsp cocoa, mixed to a smooth paste with 2 tbsp boiling water
    • 75g dark chocolate, melted
    • 140ml buttermilk
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract
    • Filling
    • A handful black hollyhock petals
    • A handful dark rose petals, unsprayed
    • 300g blackberries, pitted cherries or blueberries, or a mixture of each
    • 2 tbsp icing sugar, sieved
    • 1 tsp rose water
    • 284ml double cream
    • 100g berry jam
    • Icing
    • 100g dark chocolate
    • 50g unsalted butter

    Method

    1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4. Grease two 23cm sandwich tins and line with non-stick baking paper. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and a pinch of salt into a bowl and set aside.
    2. Cream the butter and sugar, gradually adding the eggs as you go. Beat in teh cocoa paste and melted chocolate. Fold in the buttermilk and flour mixture alternately, in two stages. Boil some water; quickly stir in 280ml and the vanilla extract. Scrape the mixture into the tins and bake for 35 minutes, until risen and springy. Cool on a wire rack.
    3. For the filling, sprinkle the petals and fruits with the icing sugar and rose water. Set aside for 10 minutes. Whip the cream lightly and swirl three quarters of the fruit and petals through it. Transfer one cake to a serving plate, spread with the jam, then with the marbled cream. Top with the second cake, domed-side up. For the icing, melt the chocolate and butter together until smooth and glossy, then pour over the cake. Pile the remaining fruits and petals on top of the cake.

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