Triple Chocolate Celebration Cake

Serves: 10-12

Developed by my friend Pamela Black, this is a cake that doesn’t need too much of an introduction – the title says it all! It’s a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.

  • 350g (12oz) butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 350g (12oz) caster sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 350g (12oz) plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 40g (1½oz) cocoa powder
  • 40g (1½oz) drinking chocolate
  • 200g (7oz) natural yoghurt
  • 110g (3¾oz) dark chocolate (55–62% cocoa solids), roughly chopped
  • gold leaf or icing sugar, to decorate
  • 110g (3¾oz) white chocolate (melted and cooled)
  • 225g (8oz) butter, softened
  • 450g (1lb) icing sugar
  • 110g (3¾oz) icing sugar
  • 50g (1¾oz) cocoa powder
  • 15g (½oz) butter
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
Four 18cm (7in) sandwich tins; baking sheet

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF) Gas mark 4. Grease the base and sides of the tins, and dust lightly with flour. Put the butter in a large bowl and cream it with a wooden spoon until soft, or use an electric beater on slow or a food processor. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the eggs, one at a time, adding 1 tablespoon flour each time and beating well after each addition. Sift the remaining flour, the baking powder, cocoa and drinking chocolate together in a bowl. Gradually fold into the egg mixture to combine. Finally, fold in the yoghurt.
  3. Divide between the prepared tins. Bake for 20-25 minutes until firm to the touch. Leave to cool in the tins on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then turn out and leave on the rack to cool completely.
  4. Meanwhile, make chocolate curls for the topping. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl doesn’t touch the water, and stirring regularly. Spread thinly over the back of a baking sheet and leave it to cool in the fridge until firm but not fridge-hard.
  5. Hold a long, sharp knife at the top of the baking sheet and tilt it at an angle towards you with one hand on the handle and the other at the top of the blade. Very carefully pull the knife towards you, scraping the chocolate as you go. Curls should start to peel up from the sheet. If it crumbles, the chocolate is too cold, and if it goes gooey, it’s too warm. Keep scraping down, returning the sheet to the fridge for a few minutes if it gets too warm, until you have shaved all the chocolate and collected enough curls for the top of the cake. Leave somewhere cool until needed. (They can be made a few days in advance.)
Published: January 2018

Crabby Potato Cakes with Lemon and Caper Mayonnaise

Makes 10-12 cakes

A step up from your average fish cakes, these are a great way of making a little crab go a long way. If you can get hold of some of the brown meat from the crab, the flavour will go even further. I love them served with a generously herby mayonnaise.

  • 500g (1lb 2oz) cooked crabmeat, brown and white if possible, free from any shell
  • 500g (1lb 2 oz) cold mashed potato (leftover mash works well)
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed finely grated zest of 1 small lemon, plus lemon wedges, to serve
  • 1 large egg
  • 70g (2½oz) spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp chopped thyme leaves
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • a good knob of butter
  • 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp chopped capers
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice, plus extra to serve
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard generous pinch of salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 50ml (2fl oz) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 150ml (5fl oz) sunflower oil
  • Green salad

  1. First make the mayonnaise. Put all the ingredients, except the oils, in a glass bowl (a stainless-steel bowl can give the mayonnaise a grey colour.) Mix the oils in a jug. Continuously whisk the mixture in the bowl while adding the oil slowly in a thin, steady stream until it is completely combined to a smooth, creamy texture. Taste for seasoning and add an extra splash of lemon juice if necessary. (For speed, you can use an electric hand whisk.) Cover and chill while you make the burgers.
  2. Mix all the ingredients, except the butter and olive oil, together in a bowl and season with salt and pepper, tasting and adjusting the seasoning if needed.
  3. Shape the mixture into 10 or 12 even-sized patties. Melt the butter in a frying pan with the olive oil. Fry the crab cakes on one side until golden, then turn and fry the other side. If you use an ovenproof pan, you can finish these off in the oven at 200°C (400ºF), Gas mark 6, for 5–8 minutes.
  4. Serve with lemon and chive mayonnaise, a green salad and lemon wedges.
Published: January 2018