The MacNean Celebration Cake

This cake is a very special treat and is great for all manner of occasions. We get so many customers celebrating birthdays and anniversaries in the restaurant. I love the lightness of the chocolate sponge with the slightly salty peanut frosting. Of course, you can use any flavour of chocolate truffles you fancy. I buy crispy feuilletine but you could always use crumbled tuile biscuits, thin wafers, chopped nuts or toasted, flaked almonds instead.

Ingredients


For the cake
  • 175 g (6oz) butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 175 g (6oz) caster sugar
  • 1 tblsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 200 g (7oz) self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 100 ml (3 1/2fl oz) milk
  • 3 eggs

For the peanut frosting
  • 100 g (4oz) cream cheese
  • 200 g (7oz) icing sugar
  • 120 g (4 1/2oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tblsp crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the ganache
  • 200 g (7oz) plain chocolate, broken into squares (at least 70% cocoa solids)
  • 250 ml (9fl oz) cream
  • 1 tblsp liquid glucose
  • 75 g (3oz) pecans, toasted and chopped
  • 100 g (4oz) crispy feuilletine
  • fresh raspberries, to decorate
  • chocolate orange truffles, to decorate
  • melted white chocolate, for drizzling
  • plain and white chocolate curls, to decorate

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/gas mark 4). Butter 2 x 18cm (7in) non-stick sandwich tins and set aside until needed.
  2. Place the butter in a large bowl with the sugar, cocoa powder and vanilla, then beat with an electric mixer until soft and fluffy. Slowly add the flour, baking powder, milk and eggs, beating continuously until creamy.
  3. Transfer the cake mixture into the prepared tins for 25–30 minutes, until risen and firm to the touch. Leave to cool in the tins for a few minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
  4. Meanwhile, make the peanut frosting. Place the cream cheese in a bowl and sift in the icing sugar, then add the butter, peanut butter and vanilla extract. Using an electric mixer, beat until pale and fluffy.
  5. To make the ganache, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Bring the cream and glucose to the boil in a separate pan, then pour over the melted chocolate. Mix well until smooth, then leave until thickened and cool.
  6. Using a bread knife, split the cooled cakes into 2 even-sized sections. Choose the flattest top and set it aside. Set the remaining 3 layers out on a clean work surface and spread over the peanut frosting, then sprinkle the pecan nuts on top and place the layers back on top of each other. Cover with the top layer of the cake and place on a wire rack set over a plastic tray.
  7. To decorate, pour the ganache over the cake and use a palette knife to help spread and smooth it down the sides. Leave to set for about 5 minutes, then carefully press some crispy feuilletine around the outside of the cake. Decorate with the raspberries, chocolate truffles, drizzles of melted white chocolate and the plain and white chocolate curls.
  8. To serve, carefully transfer the finished cake to a cake stand and cut into slices, then arrange on plates.

Notes:

See the recipe for the decorations of chocolate orange truffles and chocolate curls on RTÉ Food





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