Chocolate and Walnut Flour Free Cake:
I was asked if I’d like to trial the stand mixer from Russell Hobbs new ‘Creations’ range which will be launched on 21 July. Or, to be more exact, I was asked if I’d like to make a chocolate cake to bring along to a cake and champagne evening. Well, as you have probably realised, baking is not my forte and when I was told I needed to make a cake that was suitable for ‘High Tea’ and used chocolate I really struggled. Yes I make cupcakes, brownies and other small things that can go in the deep freeze and be taken out one by one for special occasions. I’ve even made a Christmas Cake, one year when I was feeling particularly festive. I made lots of Victoria sponges as a teenager when I was helping my mum to cater for the local tennis tournament. But, I realised, I’d never ever made a chocolate cake.
I searched around for recipes that might work and found a rather lovely flourless chocolate and walnut cake one. Well, it seemed rather lovely to me since it was almost entirely chocolate! The only thing that was missing was icing. And, in my case, a cake tin. So I went and bought an 8inch cake tin and set to work.
The Russell Hobbs Creations stand mixer definitely made light work of the mixing. The recipe asks you to beat eggs and sugar till thick – about 5 minutes in the Creations mixer on full power or about half an hour of hand whisking! And, everything went in the dishwasher when I was finished so there was no mess. I really like the machine, it’s slightly retro styled and very tasteful in cream with black accents and looks pretty nice in my kitchen. I know a lot of my friends find that if a machine has to be stored away, it never makes it out from the cupboard and just gathers dust. This one is nice enough to leave out and with the transparent splash cover, none of the food prep areas will gather dust.
I thought the result was impressive, but I did want icing. Perhaps rather foolishly I decided on a chocolate ganache, something I’ve done several times before, but only to coat eclairs and profiteroles or to make truffles at Christmas. What I didn’t realise was that icing a cake with ganache is actually quite tricky. You can’t do what my mum used to do and make ‘waves’ using a fork in the buttercream to hide up the fact you can’t get a smooth finish. That is completely contrary to the purpose of ganache which should be beautifully smooth and shiny. I suspect to get a really good result you should use a turntable (which I don’t have) and, I also think it’s probably better done on the day you intend to eat the cake because mine started to develop a bloom left overnight in the fridge.
But the result wasn’t too dreadful!
Then I realised I had to transport it. Yet more chaos as I tried to find a suitable cake tin and work out a way to get the cake in to central London. It DID survive though and even looked quite respectable against the other entries.
We had a fabulous afternoon, checking the Russell Hobbs new range, testing the George Forman grills and in some cases having hair makeovers with the new Keratin range from Remington – quite unique hair styling products that mean you don’t need heat protection spray. And then, while we sipped champagne, the cakes were judged and the winner (Heidi from Kitchen Talk) announced. Many thanks to Russell Hobbs for such a fabulous event!
The new Creations Range will launch later this year and I was sent the stand mixer to test free of charge.