Recently one of my favourite people has had a baby, which is very good news because now it is like there are two of her, only one is extremely cute and never points out that I’m being a twat. To celebrate, we all went to visit in Brighton to drink loads of prosecco and take selfies of us holding her. I brought a cake, because that is how I express affection.
It seemed like the first day it was really properly spring. The crocuses were out and I was wearing little white trainers instead of Doc Martens, and I was going to the seaside to visit a tiny baby and everything was full of new beginnings. I got caught in a hailstorm between the train station and my friend’s house, but still. It was spring.
This seems like a good springtime cake, to me. It’s much lighter than you’d expect, and the sharpness of the raspberries cuts through the deep chocolateyness of the cocoa and the richness of the cream cheese icing. The olive oil keeps it incredibly moist. It goes well with prosecco.
To serve a good party’s worth – 15, perhaps.
You will need:
- 2 8″ish springform cake tins
- 225ml olive oil
- 300g caster sugar
- 5 medium eggs
- 75g cocoa powder
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 125g plain flour
- 75g ground almonds (or omit the flour and use 225g almonds to make it gluten free, but denser)
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- A pinch of salt
- Two good handfuls of frozen raspberries – say 200g
- 125g butter, softened
- 200g full fat cream cheese
- 250g icing sugar
- Preheat your oven to 170C/gas mark 3/325F.
- Sorry, but you actually have to prepare your tins for this one, it’s sticky. Put your tins on some baking parchment, draw around them and cut out the circles. lay them neatly in the base of your tins, and grease around the edges too.
- Put the olive oil, sugar and eggs in a bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer) and whizz with an electric whisk for ages (3-5 mins), until the mixture is pale yellow and a bit bubbly, or until you can’t be bothered anymore.
- Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk again.
- Sieve your cocoa into a bowl, and add 200ml of boiling water. give it a vigorous stir round until it’s all dissolved, then pour into your main mixture and whisk to combine.
- Sieve your flower into a bowl, and add the almonds, salt and bicarbonate of soda. Stir together then add to the main mix and give it all a stir.
- Divide this mixture evenly between the two tins. Scatter a big handful of frozen raspberries on top of each and bung in the oven for 40-45 minutes. The case should look just a little undercooked and leave a cake skewer almost, but not quite, clean.
- AGES later, perhaps even the next day, when the cakes are out of the oven and cold, it’s time to ice them.
- Carefully spoon your cream cheese onto a pile of kitchen towel and let it drain for a bit.
- Beat the butter, just on its own, for about five minutes. This is a very long time and it will help if you have a stand mixer. Make sure it’s all VERY VERY soft and combined otherwise it will form buttery clumps and ruin everything.
- Add the drained cream cheese and beat again – about two minutes this time. Make sure everything is very very blended and smooth.
- Sieve in the icing sugar and beat again, until everything is combined and smooth. It will look a bit runnier than you were expecting, which is fine.
- Put one cake, right side up, on a plate. Dollop a fairly generous quantity of icing on it(a third to a half of your mixture), smooth out, and top with the other cake, upside down.
- Now chuck the rest of the icing on top of the second cake. You can either just smooth it out on the top, or attempt to get it to go down the sides as well. The sides method is impressive, but more difficult. If you do it in a big rush before going out to your own birthday party and trying not to get covered in icing, like I did, it will make you cross.
- Decorate if you like. You could sieve over some cocoa, or stick some rest raspberries on there.
- Now carry it all the way to Brighton while mildly hungover and try not to drop it.
The mother of the baby we went over to pay tribute to also runs a blog, which she updates much more frequently than I do. Have a look at Becky Boop – it’s very very funny.