It’d be difficult to decide which we like more. Chocolate remains rich and indulgent, whilst our gin’s refreshing berry and citrus notes cleanse and excite any palate. Fortunately, this recipe from Louise Robinson doesn’t force us to choose…
Cygnet Kitchen is Louise’s creative space for her culinary musings and stories about her day-to-day life in the English countryside. A cottage-dwelling food lover who, after a rather long spell in London relocated to the countryside in search of fresh, organic and locally grown ingredients to use in her recipes, brings the joy of sitting around a dining table to life. Like most of us, Louise remains locked in a battle between her love of food and not over-indulging – a battle she confesses her love of food usually wins. After trying her chocolate layer cake, it’s easy to see why.
Chocolate, Blackberry & Brockmans Gin Mascarpone Layer Cake
By Louise Robinson
Cooking time: 60 minutes
For the Cake
- 110g cocoa powder
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 260g unsalted butter
- 225g golden caster sugar
- 225 soft dark brown muscovado sugar
- 6 medium eggs, lightly beaten
- 420g plain flour
- 4 level teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 270ml whole milk
For the Brockmans Gin Syrup
- 150ml tonic water
- 100g golden caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon juniper berries, lightly crushed
- 70ml Brockmans gin
For the Blackberry, Brockmans Gin & Mascarpone Filling
- 150g fresh blackberries
- 2 tablespoons caster sugar
- 1 tablespoon Brockmans gin
- 400g mascarpone
- 150g icing sugar, sifted
For the Chocolate Mascarpone Icing
- 250g mascarpone
- 45g cocoa powder, sifted
- 75g icing sugar, sifted
- 100ml double cream
- 200g blackberries
- Pre-heat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/ Gas 3.
- Grease and line 2 x 7 inch (18cm) deep, round loose bottom cake tins with non-stick baking paper.
- Place the cocoa powder and vanilla extract into a heatproof bowl and pour over 180ml boiling water, whisking to thoroughly combine. Leave to cool.
- Put the butter, caster sugar and dark brown muscovado sugar in the clean bowl of a food processor or mixer and beat for 3-4 minutes until the mixture is pale and fluffy.
- Add the beaten eggs, a little at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition to ensure they are incorporated. Add the cooled cocoa mixture and beat again to combine.
- Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Add a third of the flour to the butter mixture and beat to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add half the milk, beating briefly again. Add another third of flour and the rest of the milk and beat to combine. Finally add the remainder of the flour and beat again until just combined.
- Divide the mixture equally between the 2 prepared tins and bake on the middle shelf of the pre-heated over for 55-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
- Allow the cakes to cool for 2 minutes in their tins and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Meanwhile make the syrup by placing the tonic water, caster sugar and crushed juniper berries into a small saucepan. Heat gently until the sugar is dissolved and then increase the heat. Simmer for 7-10 minutes until the liquid has reduced to a thick syrup. Remove from the heat and strain the syrup through a fine sieve. Discard the juniper berries and leave to cool for 5 minutes. Add the gin to the syrup, stirring to combine, and set aside.
- Make the blackberry & gin mascarpone filling by placing the blackberries, caster sugar and Brockmans gin in a bowl. Crush the blackberries with the back of a fork and stir to combine with sugar and gin. Beat the mascarpone and icing sugar in a separate bowl with electric beaters until smooth and combined. Fold in the crushed berries lightly to create a ripple effect.
- Make the chocolate and mascarpone icing by beating the mascarpone, cocoa powder and icing sugar together in a clean bowl with electric beaters until smooth. Add the cream and whisk together until combined.
- When cakes are cool, wrap in clingfilm and place in the freezer for 10 minutes. This will make them easier to cut.
- Using a cake divider or bread knife, level the tops of the cakes if necessary and cut each cake in half evenly.
- Using a pastry brush, brush the Brockmans gin syrup on the cut side of each cake layer. Place the base of one of the cakes on a plate or cake stand and spread with blackberry, Brockmans gin & mascarpone icing.
- Add the next layer cut side down. Repeat with remaining layers, ensuring that the top layer is placed cut side down.
- Finish the cake by spreading a thin layer of the chocolate mascarpone icing over the whole cake and refrigerating for it 30 minutes. Then spread the rest of the chocolate mascarpone icing over in a thick layer. Decorate with fresh blackberries and serve. The cake will keep in the fridge for a couple of days. Bring to room temperature before serving.
The cake can also be served without the chocolate mascarpone icing. Simply top the cake with whipped cream and berries.
For those who prefer their chocolate cake flourless, Kristin Rosenau’s recipe might be of interest.