So, as it transpires, we don't like fruit cake. And you can't have a wedding without wedding cake - so we've been on the prowl for a good wedding cake that is decadent enough for a wedding, and decidedly fruitless and lacking in marzipan.
Who better to turn to than the Women's Weekly? Now, I know it sounds a bit like I'm promoting them but I'm really not! I just appreciate that their recipes are triple tested and you know they're going to come out right when time and costly ingredients are involved. And besides, with covers like this, who could resist a little baking book-buying?
You see? Reprinted by popular demand. I paid £3.91 on Amazon.
That is how I came to make the Marbled Chocolate Mud Cake. Both vanilla and chocolate with doubly decadent chocolate chips on the inside. Sounds good enough for a wedding, methinks, but how would it work on a grander, decorated scale?
There's only one way to find out.
Marbled Chocolate Mud Cake
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups caster sugar
2 1/4 cups self-raising flour
25g cocoa powder
95g white chocolate bits
95g dark chocolate bits
1. Preheat the oven to 180'C (160' fan-forced) and grease a round 22cm round cake pan. Line the base with baking paper.
2. Beat butter, extract and sugar in a small bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined between additions. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in sifted flour and buttermilk in two batches.
3. Divide the cake mixture between two bowls. Blend the sifted cocoa powder with milk and stir into one of the bowls of mixture with white chocolate bits. Stir the dark chocolate bits into the remaining mixture.
4. Drop alternate spoonfulls of mixture into a pan, then pull skewer back and forth through cake mixture several times to achieve a marbled effect. Bake the cake for about 1 hour and stand the cake for five minutes before turning it top-side up onto a wire rack to cool.
5. Make chocolate buttercream (recipe below).
6. Drop alternate spoonfulls of the two buttercream mixtures onto the cake and spread over top and sides of cake.
At this point I'd mention that I would definitely not overdo the skewer-dragging. It is pretty, but I would have liked more distinct marbled colouring rather than little marbled swirls.
Here's the finished cake, cooling. It looks a bit like a vague map of Italy.
125g butter, softened
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
Beat the butter in a small bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in half of the icing sugar, then the milk, then the remaining icing sugar. Transfer half of the mixture to a small bowl; stir in sifted cocoa into one of the bowls.
Right, so, the verdict? This cake was delicious. It was doubly delicious. It was the kind of cake you dream about in coffee shop dreams with generous dollops of buttercream, extra chocolate chips and - well - it is mud cake, so you get the gist.
The only downside to this cake is that it is quite crumbly. The chocolate chunks could have been smaller, which may have created fewer crumbles when cutting. I doubt it would hold up to layers of icing and chocolate swirls and flower sugar paste without a stiffer base coat of marzipan. Despite this, it was gobbled and guzzled instantly when we both took containers of cake slices to work - not a crumb was left behind! I liked it, loved it even - and was still getting requests for it throughout the week - but I don't think it's a wedding cake winner.