Jo Boon throws us back to the holidays. Why not make a chocolate log cabin in February?
Within my family, the making of the chocolate log cabin is quite an event. We only ever have one so who makes it is a subject of contention and I have learnt over the years that, if in doubt, it is best to agree with everyone and eat anything. This is probably not the best solution for my health but it definitely is for my happiness.
Very few people in my family like Christmas pudding (or mince pies!) and so when my siblings and I were younger my mum gave up on us and decided she should just find an alternative. That alternative was the Chocolate Log Cabin and it is, without a doubt, the least healthy recipe of all time.
We still have about half of ours left, as just a small slice is at least three chocolate bars worth of sugar. Ok, I’m exaggerating, but it truly is something to behold and an integral part of Christmas… and New Year… and the eating up of oddments that tends to continue until early February in my house. Here is how you can create your own:
Serves: 6- 8
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 50 minutes
You will need
For the sponge:
175g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
150g self-raising flour, sifted 1 tsp baking powder
30g cocoa powder, sifted
175g soft dark brown sugar
3 large free-range eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
55g plain dark chocolate, chopped
For the fudge icing:
200g icing sugar, sifted 200g unsalted butter, softened
200g plain dark chocolate, melted
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/392°F/ gas mark 6. Lightly grease a 20cm round cake tin and line the base with parchment paper.
2. Cream the butter and sugar. Beat the eggs, and add gradually, adding a tiny bit of flour whilst you do to stop it from curdling. Next add the cocoa, and vanilla essence, and then fold in the flour and chocolate pieces.
3. Turn the sponge mixture into the prepared tin and lightly tap on the work surface to level it out.
4. Bake in the oven for 55 minutes to one hour, until the sponge springs back to the touch of a fingertip and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
5. Remove the cake from the oven, allow to cool in the tin for five minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
6. Meanwhile, make the icing. Put the butter and icing sugar in a large mixing bowl and mix together. Add the melted chocolate and stir to incorporate it evenly.
The construction of this cake is still a mystery to anyone who’s ever tried it so good luck. You need at least two sponges and to cut them into rectangles, (if you didn’t use rectangular tins to start with.) Stick one on top of the other with icing cream to make a two story house. Now the fun begins: you need to make the roof and, yes, that does mean turning a cake into a triangle. My mum can do this with great skill but really it’s best just to slant two pieces of cake together into a point. It doesn’t have to look perfect because the entire thing is going to get slathered in a good layer of icing cream anyway. Did I mention that this is probably the least healthy recipe ever?
So once you’re done covering the chocolate cake in chocolate cream, what you really need is more chocolate. Feel free to let your creative side wild here but these are my suggestions: Make a roof out of chocolate flakes, this is after all a LOG cabin. Use chocolate mint sticks, cut up if necessary, to create a door and windows. Stick some fruit pastels (or brightly coloured sweets of choice) in the window so they look like stained glass. Dust the entire thing in icing sugar so it looks like the first snow and voila, you’re very own Chocolate Log cabin.
Happy holidays everyone!