Most people like chocolate and you can’t go wrong with a beautifully moist chocolate sponge coated with a rich glossy ganache… and it’s even more difficult to resist if it is heart-shaped.
Makes 4 | Preparation time: 20 minutes, plus cooling and setting | Cooking time: 30 minutes
For the sponge
butter, for greasing
1 large egg
200g (7oz) golden caster sugar
175g (6oz) Greek yogurt
75ml (2½fl oz) vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
3 tbsp espresso coffee
70g (2½oz) unsweetened cocoa powder
125g (4½oz) plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
For the chocolate ganache
300g (10½oz) dark chocolate, 70% cocoa
solids, roughly chopped
150ml (¼ pint) double cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
First, make the sponge. Preheat the oven to 170°C (fan 140°C)/325°F/gas mark 3. Grease 4 x individual 7cm (2¾in) wide heart-shaped cake tins.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg, sugar, yogurt, oil and vanilla together until smooth and combined. Add the coffee and cocoa powder and whisk vigorously until the mixture is smooth and free from lumps. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together, then add to the mixture and whisk vigorously for about 1 minute until just combined.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tins and bake in the oven for about 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then carefully turn out on to a cooling rack and leave to cool completely.
To make the ganache, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, making sure the surface of the water does not touch the bowl. Meanwhile, put the cream into a saucepan and heat to just below boiling point.
Remove the melted chocolate from the heat and slowly pour in the cream, gently stirring with a balloon whisk until smooth and glossy. Add the vanilla extract and stir to combine. Leave to stand for about 10 minutes until cool and slightly thickened.
Stand the cakes on a wire rack over a baking sheet. Beat the ganache briefly before pouring it over the cakes. Lightly smooth and spread the ganache over the top and sides of the cakes with a palette knife. Leave to stand at room temperature until set before serving.
If you don’t have individual heart-shaped tins, bake the mixture in a 20 x 20cm (8 x 8in) square cake tin at 170°C (fan 140°C)/325°F/gas mark 3 for 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then carefully turn out on to a cooling rack and cut into squares
Extracted from Eric Lanlard’s Afternoon Tea. Available here