Last weekend was the anniversary mass for my mother. She passed away on the 10th Feb 2007. It doesn't seem like 3 years, however when I think of all the different events in my life that she hasn't been here to be a part of, it nearly seems longer. Mam was diagnosed with Myeloma on the day that Tiarnan was born, in June 2005. She went through all the recommended treatments, trying anything that had some promise of recovery. After 19mths of treatment she lost her battle with cancer. She was such a strong lady, very positive in all aspects of her life. We had a wonderful relationship and I desperately miss her everyday. There is a definite void that can never be filled. I truly believe it when they say, that when somebody close to you dies a piece of you goes with them. However, I am privileged that we were such good friends and the memory of our times together I will forever treasure.
After the mass we had dinner at my sisters and I provided the desserts. I love having the excuse to spend a morning baking and with help from my 3 boys we made a variety of sweet treats. One cake I made was this Nigella Lawson chocolate cake. I have made this for different family get-togethers and have been asked many times for the recipe. Sometimes I change how I present it. As a birthday cake I filled the cooled cake with some maltesers, topped with the cream filling, then placed a cardboard cutout of Ben 10 and decorated with a few more maltesers. This was more appealing to the attending children and as it is so rich a tiny slice is sufficient. The cake is fairly easy to make but there is a lot of washing up after. Make sure to use a high cocoa content chocolate and whisk the egg whites and sugar until they are fairly stiff.
Chocolate Cloud Cake
Makes 1 cake
250g dark chocolate, minimum 60 -70% cocoa solids
125g unsalted butter, softened
6 eggs: 2 whole, 4 separated
175g caster sugar
23cm springform cake tin
For the Cream Topping
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons icing sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder for sprinkling over the cream topping
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C(fan)/390f/gas mark 6.
2. Line the bottom of the cake tin with baking parchment.
3. Melt the chocolate either in a bowl over boiling water or a microwave, and then let the butter melt in the warm chocolate.
4. Beat the 2 whole eggs and 4 egg yolks with 75g of the caster sugar, then gently add the chocolate mixture.
5. In another bowl, whisk the 4 egg whites until foamy, then gradually add the 100g of sugar and whisk until the whites are holding their shape but not too stiff.
6. Lighten the chocolate mixture with a dollop of egg whites, and then fold in the rest of the whites. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 35–40 minutes or until the cake is risen and cracked and the centre is no longer wobbly. Cool the cake in its tin on a wire rack; the middle will sink as it cools.
7. When you are ready to eat, place the still tin-bound cake on a cake stand or plate for serving and carefully remove the cake from its tin. Don’t worry about cracks or rough edges. Whip the cream until it’s soft and then add the vanilla and icing sugar and continue whisking until the cream is firm but not stiff.
8. Fill the crater of the cake with the whipped cream, easing it out gently towards the edges of the cake, and dust the top lightly with cocoa powder pushed through a sift.