Sunday, 3 February 2013

Chocolate Surprise with Vanilla Mascarpone Topping

Do you like surprises? I guess as long as they are of the pleasant kind, who doesn't? Maybe you get a lovely gift from your mate or a friend. Your husband brings home some flowers for you - without you haven given a hint beforehand that he hasn't done so for quite a while now. Something else, you meet someone on the street you haven't seen for ages. Or you get a notification, that you won a price in a contest after you already have forgotten about it. 
What I mentioned last just happened to me. I won a new cookbook in a recipe contest. Well, they had sent the notification in a message via Facebook, but somehow I just got to see it nearly a month later. However, I still got the book.
Now we want to talk about a surprise in connection with a cake I came up with. It happened to be the case that I received some samples from Sugar and Crumbs. They have a wonderful supply for your baking needs.

With a part from these samples I whipped up this Chocolate Surprise with Vanilla Mascarpone Topping. When thinking about what to bake originally it wasn't my intention to use a bit of everything that Sugar and Crumbs had send me in one cake, but it just happened to be. Here is what I got the chance to test: Creamy vanilla icing sugar / plain chocolate blossoms / chocolate orange cocoa powder.

On Sugar and Crumbs they say: "Flavoured Cocoa Powder? At we are committed to developing new products for the adventurous bakers! We have developed a UK first flavoured Cocoa Powder which offers you guaranteed flavour consistency for all your bakes and toppings."
Let's get adventurous then ... and on the way you will see where the surprise in the cake is. Go for it ...

Sweet Pastry:
125 g butter
100 g creamy vanilla icing sugar (or just icing sugar)
A pinch of salt
250 g plain flour
2 egg yolks
2 tbs cold milk

Chocolate filling (the surprise):
100 g dark chocolate
50 g butter
50 g sugar (optional)
4 tbs chocolate orange cocoa powder (or whatever flavour you desire)
50 g plain flour
2 eggs
2 egg whites (I simply didn't want to store them)

Vanilla mascarpone topping (kind of):
250 g mascarpone
250 g curd cheese
4 tbs creamy vanilla icing sugar

Plain chocolate blossoms for extra decoration


The sweet pastry is a standard pastry, which you can find for example as well in Jamie Oliver's book The Naked Chef. I simply substituted normal icing sugar with the creamy vanilla icing sugar.
I enjoyed putting the dough together. You already get this lovely vanilla aroma while doing it. First you cream the butter with the sugar and the salt.
Then you get in the flour and the egg yolks and work carefully work it so you get a crumbly mass. Add the milk and somehow manage to get one lump of dough with too much kneading action. Best would be to just push things together, so you get this lump. 
Now I'm sorry to say, we need some time. Wrap the dough in cling film and transfer it to the fridge for one hour. What do you do with one hour? Find out for yourself ...

... the hour is over. You got a round cake tin and lightly oiled it with cooking oil. Fit the dough into the cake tin producing a one centimetre high edge at the wall of the tin. You can get another hour, if you want and put the cake tin with the dough for another hour into the freezer this time. Otherwise you can do this blind baking thing with chickpeas or beans ...

... say you got your tin from the freezer. The oven is hot with 180 °C. You transfer the cake tin to the oven for 12 minutes.
Meanwhile you set your mind on the chocolate filling. In a bowl over hot water melt the chocolate and add the butter, sugar (if you want) and cocoa powder and mix well. Once everything has transformed into a smooth chocolate mass, you can remove the bowl from the heat.
Thoroughly incorporate the flour, eggs and egg whites into the chocolate mass.
The first baking is already done? Good. Get your chocolate mixture onto the cake bottom and bake it for another 35 minutes at 180 °C. Enjoy the chocolate orange aroma while the baking takes place.
Remove the cake from the oven and allow time to cool down. You see, all this is taking quite a while. Will it be worth it? We have to proceed!
Mix the mascarpone, the curd cheese and the creamy vanilla icing sugar together. Oooooohhhhh, this tastes gorgeous!
Don't eat it like this right now, although you could whip such a cream together separately and have it for pudding. Nevertheless, in this case we are using it on top of our cake.
Finally we finish it off with the plain chocolate blossoms. I imagined making these blossoms by myself (which I have done before) with chocolate and a knife. Well, this is not funny. The chocolate starts melting before I'm finished and I always end up eating the unused chocolate. So, it's a very good and convenient thing to have these ready chocolate blossoms from Sugar and Crumbs.

Was all this work worth it? At least I liked it very much. There was a hint of chocolate orange from the cocoa powder - it really did it's job. The greatest punch, though, brought the vanilla mascarpone topping with the creamy vanilla icing sugar in it. 
I could imagine as well taking this chocolate surprise cake to a cake event, if I would get an invitation or get the chance to invite myself.

Now that you have seen the surprise - the well hidden chocolate center of the cake - how did you like it? You can surprise me with some comments about this ...


  1. Well I hope my comment won't be too much of a surprise Chris, but your cake does look wonderful. Chocolate in the middle and chocolate on top is always going to appeal to me, but this look really pretty too.

    1. Thank you very much, Choclette! Well, yes, somehow I expected it you would like that cake. The chocolate on top is mainly for diversion and ... well, decoration, too.

  2. Lush cake, looks so pretty too. Will keep an eye on this brand of cake decorations in the shops.

    1. Thanks a lot, Galina! I think with a bit more practice and help, I finally can manage to make cakes look nice.

  3. Chris you have done Sugar and Crumbs proud! What a fantastic looking dessert, no surprise really you are an excellent chef/baker.

    1. Thank you Janice, it makes me feel very good to hear this. Well, cooking and baking is a lot more fun, then what I usually do.

  4. Flavoured cocoa powder sounds really interesting! I love the look of your pudding, would love a slice!

    1. A few days ago I would have loved to give you a slice of the cake. However, in the meantime I had some visitors and strangely all of it is gone. Sorry! Maybe next time!


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