In case I've not mentioned it before, I have a very clever twinny. When we were mere nuggetitas in our mumma's tummy and the brain cells were divvied up, it had clearly been pre-determined that she would get all the brains and I would get all the, well, the vapidity!
Were I to list all of twinny's achievements this would possibly turn into the longest blog post ever, so I shall refrain and instead we'll just focus on the latest: after a year of intense studying (alongside her full-time day job saving lives!!!) and undergoing eight hours of gruelling written and oral examinations, twinutha passed her Surgical exit exam (first time around, might I add!) to officially become a member of the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons.
What this means to us non-medics is that she can now practice as a senior surgeon, hopefully saving even more lives than before, and consequently the rest of us can sleep a little more easily, knowing we have a superhero in our midst. Hurrah!
In case it isn't already glaringly obvious, I'm super proud of my biological other half (to distinguish from my marital other half - of whom, of course, I'm also very proud!) She's spent half her life studying and slaving away, dedicating herself to be the best doctor she can be. She may also have thoroughly relished sharing gruesome surgical details and pictures with her squeamish twin along the way, but we won't go into that...
So to celebrate the superstardomness of my lil' sis (hey, that one minute counts!), I felt the least she deserved was a cake: a full-on chocolate-sponged, chocolate-frosted, chocolate-coated, chocolate-topped cake (the kind that, ironically, many of her patients are possibly meant to avoid!) And so I made my very first chocolate bar drip-cake. I know drip cakes and chocolate bar-topped cakes have been around for a while, but for one reason or the other, I've not had occasion to make them before. Thanks to twinny, I now did.
Well done twinny, so immensely proud of you. xxx
For the cake and frosting:
The sponge for this cake comes from my Easy-peasy chocolate orange fudge cake recipe, but instead of a chocolate orange sponge, I elected for vanilla extract this time around. For a taller cake - which is possibly preferable for drip cakes - you can times the recipe ingredients by 1.5 (use 5 medium eggs rather than trying to crack 4.5 large ones!) and split the batter between three 8"/20cm tins rather than two.
Likewise increase the frosting quantity by 1.5 times, using 300g each of butter, icing sugar and chocolate.
To assemble, once the cake are cool, place one of the sponges upright on your serving plate. With a palette knife or spatula, evenly spread about a quarter of the frosting over the top of the sponge.
Place the second sponge on top of the iced first sponge and gently press it down so that it sits comfortably and isn't sliding around. Cover the top of this with another quarter of the icing, then top with the remaining sponge, again gently pressing it into place.
Evenly spread the remainder of the icing around the sides of the cake - be generous here, ensuring sure the sponge isn't visible through the frosting - and finally over the top, smoothing the icing as much as you can along the way.
Allow to set in the fridge for at least an hour.
For the decoration:
- 150g double cream
- 150g plain chocolate (40-50% cocoa), chopped into small pieces
- As many different chocolates as you wish to top your cake with (I aimed for different sizes and textures as well as flavours, using: Laduree chocolate hazelnut macarons; Ferrero Rochers; mini Mars bites; Snickers bars each chopped into pieces; orange Matchmakers; a chopped up Flake; Monty bojangles truffles; and a slab of Chococo honeycomb chocolate broken into shards. Phew!)
For the drip decoration, you will need to make a chocolate ganache by heating the cream in a small saucepan on a low heat until it just starts to simmer. As soon as it does so, remove from the heat and add the chopped plain chocolate into the pan.
Allow the chocolate to sit in the heat of the cream for about 30 seconds, then gently stir the two with a spatula until fully combined and you have a glossy, thick ganache. Set this aside to cool a while. You want it to thicken slightly but still be runny enough to drip.
When you're ready to decorate the cake with the chocolate drips, put about 2tbsp of the ganache in a piping bag with small round nozzle, saving the rest for later. Place the nozzle at the rim of the top of the cake and gently squeeze, allowing a drip of ganache to come out and run, or dribble, down the side. It should be thick enough to stop running down all the way to the base of the cake. If it's too runny, leave the ganache to cool a few minutes longer. If it's not runny enough, heat in the microwave for 2-5 seconds (no more!)
Leaving a small gap of about 2cm along the circumference of the cake, repeat the drip process. Use more ganache for a longer drip or or less for a shorter drip. You may want some of the drips to go down all the way to the base - it's entirely up to you. Continue all the way around the circumference of the cake with different length drips. If there is still some ganache left in the piping bag when you've finished the drips, save it for sticking the chocolate bars on top of the cake.
Once the drips are done, cover the top of the cake with the remaining ganache that's not in the piping bag, gently spreading it right to the edges with a palette knife, to cover the whole top and smoothing it out as much as possible.
Now the fun bit! Decorate the top of the cake (and sides if you wish) with your stash of chocolates and chocolate bars! If you want to pile the chocolates on top of one another, use blobs of ganache from the piping bag to 'glue' them together.
For the message, I used melted white chocolate and a piping bag with a small round nozzle. I piped free-hand onto a piece of parchment paper, allowed the piped message to set in the fridge, then gently lifted the piped writing and placed it on the cake before adding my chopped chocolates.