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    Martha Collison's chocolate truffle simnel cake

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    Martha Collison's chocolate truffle simnel cake

    It’s not traditional but it is delicious! This is the simnel cake for those who aren’t taken with dried fruit – and it’s just as indulgent and rich 

    • Vegetarian
    • Preparation time: 45 minutes + cooling time
    • Cooking time: 50-55 minutes

    Serves: 10-12


    125g butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
    250g plain flour
    300g soft light brown sugar
    30g cocoa powder
    2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
    ½ tsp salt
    100g 70% dark chocolate
    250ml buttermilk
    2 medium Waitrose British Blacktail Eggs, beaten

    200g marzipan
    50g dark chocolate

    200g dark chocolate
    100ml double cream


    1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC, gas mark 3 and then grease and line the base and sides of a 20cm round tin with baking parchment. Place the plain flour, sugar, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large bowl, then stir to combine.

    2. Melt the chocolate and butter together in a heatproof bowl over a small saucepan of boiling water or in the microwave until smooth, then remove from the heat and stir in the buttermilk followed by the beaten eggs. Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients, whisking until a smooth batter has formed. Spread the batter into the prepared tin, smoothing the top with a spatula.

    3. Bake for 50-55 minutes until risen and a skewer inserted to the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 30 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

    4. To make the marzipan truffles, roll the marzipan into 11 equal-sized balls and prepare a sheet of baking parchment. Melt the chocolate in the microwave or in a bowl over simmering water, then use a fork and spoon to dip the marzipan balls into the chocolate and coat completely. Transfer to the baking parchment and leave to set at room temperature.

    5. To make the ganache, finely chop the dark chocolate and place into a bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan until steaming, then pour the cream over the chocolate and stir until completely combined. If there are any lumps in your ganache, microwave in short bursts, stirring often, until they have melted. Allow to cool for 10 minutes at room temperature.

    6. Slice the cool cake in half using a serrated knife and place the bottom half onto a cake stand or serving plate. Spread half the ganache over the bottom layer and place the final layer onto the top. Cover with the remaining ganache and then arrange the marzipan truffles around the top edge.

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