If you were to ask me who I draw inspiration from at the moment in terms of cooking and baking it would have to be a family friend of ours – Polly. Polly has always amazed me with her culinary skills. She’s not only an incredibly talented chef but also an artist, and someone with a very big heart. Polly has also been treating us to delicious home-cooked meals and sweet treats for as long as I can remember. In fact the first banana split I can ever remember eating was at her house, and even now her chocolate pots are still a nostalgic favourite that could never be beaten. Now this post is quite belated and I take the blame for being too distracted and forgetting to get the recipe at the time. Polly had invited us – that is Mum and I, to a candle party at her house on the estate quite a while ago. For those who – like me, were ignorant to candle parties, candle parties are the candle equivalent of tupperware parties. A representative shows you all sorts of wares and at the end of it all you have the option to order some things from their catalogue.
Mum and I bought a trio of glass bowls with little glass candle holders that would sit in the top. I saw Polly had some and fell in love with them. She fills hers with rock salt and spices and shells and it looks stunning. Mum and I are debating what to put in ours but I am still adamant that we put cinnamon quills in the tallest of the three. I think it would look fantastic. And as we recently visited Polly for a gorgeous roast lunch I managed to nab both the recipe for the chocolate cloud cake which we ate at the candle party and a few others too! I’m looking forward to the next time I have a dinner party so I can give the chocolate pots a go. Oh! But I have to mention that Polly uses this as a base cake recipe and makes whatever alterations she likes when making it. She is a taste-tester, so whatever we end up with is always exquisite because of her care and experience. So feel free to test and change it up too.
Chocolate Cloud Cake
Serves: 6-8, Prep: 30-35 mins, Cook: 35-40 mins
- 250g dark chocolate, at least 70%
- 125g unsalted butter, softened
- 6 eggs
- 175g caster sugar
- 2 tbsp cointreau (optional)
- Grated zest of 1 orange (optional)
- 500ml double thick cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp cointreau (optional)
- 1/2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder for sprinkling,
- Grated chocolate for sprinkling (Optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan-forced and grease and line a 23cm springform cake tin with baking paper.
- Melt the chocolate, and then let the butter melt into it.
- Use two of the eggs whole, but separate the remaining four. Beat the whole eggs with the four egg yolks and 75g of the caster sugar, then gently add this to the chocolate mixture along with the cointreau and orange zest (if using).
- In another bowl, whisk the four egg whites until foamy, then gradually add the remaining sugar and whisk until the egg whites are holding their shape but are not too stiff – and all the sugar has dissolved.
- Lighten the chocolate mixture by folding through a dollop of the egg whites, then fold the remaining egg whites through.
- Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 35-40 mins or until the cake is risen and cracked and the centre is no longer wobbly.
- Let the cake cool in it’s tin, and expect it to sink in the middle as it cools.
- When ready to eat, carefully remove the cake from it’s tin. Whip the cream until soft peaks form, then add in the vanilla and cointreau (if using), and then continue whisking until the cream is firm but not too stiff.
- Fill the crater in the middle of the cake with the whipped cream and gently ease it out towards the edges of the cake. Sprinkle with the cocoa powder, and grated chocolate if using, and serve.