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    John Whaite's chocolate traybake with chocolate silk ganache

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    John Whaite's chocolate traybake with chocolate silk ganache

    • Preparation time: 20 minutes + cooling
    • Cooking time: 25 minutes to 30 minutes

    Serves: 12


    55g cocoa powder
    225g self-raising flour
    1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
    200g dark brown muscovado sugar
    70g caster sugar
    4 tbsp sunflower oil, plus extra for greasing
    150g buttermilk
    2 British Blacktail Large Eggs

    For the chocolate silk ganache
    125g No.1 Dominican Republic Dark Chocolate, 65% cocoa
    125g Cooks' Ingredients Milk Chocolate, roughly chopped
    50g butter
    2 British Blacktail Large Eggs
    30g caster sugar
    2 tbsp cacao nibs
    2 tbsp Cooks’ Ingredients Dried Raspberries


    1 Grease a 23x33cm baking tin, then line it with baking parchment. Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Sift the cocoa powder, flour and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl, then add the dark brown muscovado sugar. Rub it into the dry ingredients, to break up any lumps. Whisk in the caster sugar.

    2 Put 140ml cold water into a medium saucepan over a high heat and bring up to the boil. Remove from the heat and mix in the sunflower oil and buttermilk. Break the eggs into the dry ingredients, add the hot buttermilk mixture and whisk until smooth.

    3 Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the cake springs back when gently pressed, and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the tin, on a rack. I prefer to ice the cake in the tin and serve it directly from that, but if you can carefully remove the cake from the tin and set it onto a large platter.

    4 Make the ganache as the cake bakes. Put the chopped chocolates into a heatproof bowl, add the butter and set over a pan of barely simmering water. Melt the chocolate and butter together, stirring now and again until smooth. Don’t let the water beneath get too hot, or the chocolate could seize, becoming thick and grainy. Set aside.

    5 Meanwhile, put the eggs and sugar into a second heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over the same pan of barely simmering water, as before. Stir the eggs and sugar together using a balloon whisk, ensuring the whisk touches the bowl at all times. Don’t be vigorous here, the intention isn’t to aerate the eggs, merely to heat them with the sugar. Once the eggs are hot to the touch (around 2 minutes), remove from the heat and add to the bowl of melted chocolate. Whisk together to form a smooth ganache – it may look a little grainy at first, but give it a good mix.

    6 Allow the ganache to cool until it is thick and spreadable – a little like chocolate and hazelnut spread, then spread it in glorious swoops and swirls over the cake. Finish with a generous sprinkling of cacao nibs and freeze-dried raspberries.  

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    John’s tips
    If you have an instant-read digital thermometer, the eggs are ready when they reach 75°C. Don’t leave the bowl or stop stirring as the eggs are heating, as they may scramble.  

    Leftovers can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 8 weeks.


    Average user rating

    4 stars