(Warning this cake needs over-night refrigeration prior to topping with chocolate glaze!)
I made this cake for P's birthday he shares with his brother R and while she doesn't share the same birthday, it was also for R's wife T.
In our family because there are so many birthdays we have to get together at a convenient time and share a few. P & R are twins so of course that means 2 with one blow and T's was around the same time. I made the cake for P to take to a lunch at his sister's place one Sunday and I couldn't go to it. Being the start of 3 weeks of hell at work at the time, I stayed home without interruption and wrote some submissions.
I have been wanting to make this cake for years when I first saw it in Feasts but a few things were stopping me, like sourcing the decorations and the three pages of instructions were quite intimidating. However for me, nothing could have been further from the truth in terms of actually making and assembling this cake it all came together beautifully, even though I didn't quite get the decorations right.
I actually needed gold cachous and did find them, but was dissuaded from buying them after I discovered a very small packet cost just under $10. I also needed to have nibbed pistachios. I ended buying shelled pistachios and tried my best to display their verdant insides to the world as best I could.
I now have the right colour cachous (my trip to Melbourne) but I still don't have the right pistachios oh well... means I have to make this cake again.
The cake itself was a very easily made chocolate sponge then it became a rum tiramisu topped with a luscious chocolate glaze. I have found that Nigella's chocolate cakes so far have all proved very easy to make and this one was similar to the Chocolate Malteser Cake in the same book.
For the cake: 50g plain flour 50g cornflour 40g cocoa 4 eggs separated 150g caster sugar pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 180 C. Butter and line the bottom of a 23 cm springform tin. Sift together the flour and cornflour, and add the cocoa, pushing it through the sieve. Whisk the separated egg yolks with half of the sugar - until the mixture becomes pale and moussy.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until firm, then whisk in the remaining sugar, one spoonful at a time, until you have gleaming white peaks. Gently fold in the yolk mixture into the whites, and then add the flour, cornflour and cocoa, folding gently again until combined. Pour this moussy liquid into the tin and bake for 30 mins. The cake will be almost silicon-springy on top. Unclip the tin and let the cake cool on a rack, right side up.
For the Rum-Espresso syrup 100 g castor sugar 60ml water 125ml strong coffee (or 125ml hot water and 2 teasp instant coffee powder) 60ml rum (I used less about half as much alcohol)
Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan and let it bubble for just under a minute before taking the pan off the heat and adding the coffee and the rum. Stir- just with a fork - pour the hot syrup into a bowl and let it cool.
For the filling: 3 egg yolks 70g castor sugar 80ml dark rum 250g mascarpone cheese 250ml double cream
Put the yolks, sugar and rum into bowl that will fit over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Whisk (hand beater) until the mixture has thickened airily and the lift the bowl off the pan and let it sit on a cold surface while you whisk for another few minutes to help it cool down. Don't worry too much about whether it is thick enough, the marscapone and cream will give it the extra body to fill the cake later.
Make sure this mixture is quite cool before mixing through the marscapone. Softly whip the cream in a separate bowl and beat or fold that into the filling as well.
Cut the cake into 3 layers - thin slices. Brush a 23 cm springform tin with some of the syrup and then layer a third of the cake, laid horizontally, to line the bottom of the tin. Brush with syrup to dampen the cake and seal the joins.
Spread the layer of cake with half of the zabaglione using a rubber spatula and a light hand to coat evenly, and then add another layer of cake slices to cover. Dribble again or brush with the syrup until the cake is damp as before, and then spread over the final half of the filling.
Cover with the final third of the cake slices and drip, pour or brush over the syrup to give the cake a smoothish layer, which can be iced later; if the cake is damp, there's no need to drench it.
Put the cake covered with clingfilm, in the fridge overnight to set. You can ice the cake and return it to the fridge (although it will make the glaze dulish)
Icing 100g caster sugar 60ml or 4 tablespoons golden syrup 60ml dark rum 1 teaspoon instant coffee 150g best quality dark chocolate, chopped very small.
Put the sugar, syrup, rum and espresso powder into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Turn off the heat and add the chopped chocolate, swirling it around so that the chocolate melts in the hot liquid. Leave for a few minutes and then whisk everything together in the pan (just using a little hand whisk) to make a smooth shiny glaze. Moving quickly, run a small spatula or thin knife blade around the inside of your cake tin. Spring open the tin, taking care with the sides as the cake will damp and delicate. Sit the cake on a plate or stand (don't move it from the tin's base - it will deconstruct!) and pour over the icing, letting it dribble here and there. You may need to ease it over the top of the cake while it is still malleable. The glaze will set quite quickly, as the cake will be quite cold and the finish will be ruined if you try and spread the icing too long after your initial pouring.
Scatter with gold sprinkles, nibbed or chopped pistachios.
Well the effort for me was in repeating that recipe here ( I have just found the energy to re-edit all the spelling mistakes out) because given it was made over two days I didn't find it too onerous. It was also a huge hit, so well worth the effort.