Student food blog: Chocolate mocha cake with festive liqueur-spiked ganache

Sophie EdmondsI hate how Christmas, barbecue and beersie season coincides with bikini and beach season. Not ideal. 

Unfortunately for people such as myself who enjoy food far too much, the bikini body is on the back burner for this part of the year (scratch that, make it year round).

Sticking with last week's theme of chocolate, my second dessert is a delicious baby chocolate mocha cake with ganache.

I managed to get my paws on some of the most excellent Quick Brown Fox coffee liqueur from the Otago Farmers Market the other week and decided to pop a few sloshes in the ganache, just to see what happened, but also hoping that it would add a bit more festive cheer to this moist rich cake.

It worked.

Oh boy, did it work.

I also drizzled a wee bit over the top of the cakes just as they came out of the oven (I had brandy and Christmas cake methodologies on the brain!).

It was excellent.

So for this recipe I used 11cm spring-form cake tins. There was enough cake batter to make six of these, so two "disappeared'' and I froze the other four. This is great over the Christmas season when you may suddenly be invited to any number of shindigs at a moment's notice.

Because this cake is so rich, you don't need a big slice. Plus it is good for intimate wee gatherings where you don't want piles of cake left over at the end (remember that bikini body?).

If you want to make a large cake, use a 23cm tin and increase the cooking time to around 50 minutes to an hour. The ganache recipe will be enough to assemble two two-tiered mini-cakes.

Chocolate mocha cake with Quick Brown Fox ganache
Makes six 11cm cakes

2 cups plain flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup cocoa
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup strong black coffee
1 cup of buttermilk (or half and half milk and yoghurt)
2 eggs
1/2 cup sunflower oil
1 tsp vanilla essence

Quick Brown Fox ganache
(Enough to ice two two-tiered cakes)

1/2 cup cream
250g dark chocolate (60ish% cocoa solids), chopped
5-6 Tbsp Quick Brown Fox (or other coffee liqueur)

To make the cakes

Heat the oven to 180degC on bake.

Line and grease your 11cm cake tins. If you have only a few (I have only two) wait half an hour before turning the baked cakes out and reusing the tins).

Beat together the sugar and eggs until pale. Add oil, beat well then carefully mix in the buttermilk (or milk/yoghurt mixture) and the vanilla.

Sieve in the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and baking powder and mix to combine. Carefully stir in the black coffee (if using a stand mixer it can slosh everywhere!).

Pour 230g of cake mixture into each cake tin. Bake for 30 minutes and leave to cool before turning out. If you want, you can drizzle a teaspoon of QBF over the tops of the cakes while they are still hot.

To make the ganache

Heat the cream in a double boiler until just below a simmer then add the chocolate. Leave to sit for a minute then stir.

Once cooled slightly, stir in the QBF. Leave to cool to room temperature before covering and leaving to cool in the fridge.

Once the ganache has thickened for an hour or so in the fridge, use it to gently glue two cakes together. You may need to level the tops of the cakes with a serrated knife.

If the ganache is too hard pop it in the microwave for a few seconds until it is spreadable. Be careful not to tear the cakes as you ice them.

Enjoy!