Dark Chocolate Cake


Dear Joe

It’s 21.43pm on the 9th of July as I write this. Our flight to Italy leaves in 8 hours but I’m sat in our garden writing this, becuase it’s a cake that needs writing about. My plan is that you will read this in about a week’s time when I’m with Coco in Zurich (Coco has kindly changed his name from ‘Constantin’ to ‘Coco’ to fit thematically with this post).

I’m looking at the sage bush and the roses. The evening has washed everything with watercolour grey. It’s beautiful. Don’t really have time to write poetic prose for this one, as I said, we have a flight in 8 hours and I do need sleep. Instead, I’ll let the poem you have tattoed on your chest do the talking.

It says – you become strong doing the things you need to be strong for – Audrey Lorde

I read this on you 20 mins ago when you were lying on the floor because Matt made you do too many dead lifts at the gym hahaha. The words resonated with me.

I’m becoming strong in our garden at – now – 21.52pm, because I really need to write down this chocolate cake recipe for you.

So, I’ve got the golden ticket – I’ve found my go-to chocolate cake. It’s dark, damp and bitter, with the kind of sweetness that only a rich chocolate cake can bring. It’s rich and dense enough to eat with a spoon, but delecate in a way too, it collapses on itself, melting on your touge. It happens to be dairy free too, and can eaisly be made gluten free by replacing the plain flour with ground almonds or gluten free flour.

Cake Note – this is a versatile cake. Bake it in a 23cm square tin for 35mins and slice in squares dusted with cocoa powder. Slice the cake horizontally in half, and stack thin layers of the cake between chocolate cream. Or bake it in a round 9inch tin for 35 mins for a thinner, quicker cake. Or, bake as I have written here and get a picture-perfect, single layer chocolate cake with a thick melting ganache.


For the Cake

  • 100g finly chopped dark chocolate
  • 50g cocao powder
  • 100g boiling water
  • 2 eggs
  • 150g olive oil
  • 200g sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 75g ground almons
  • 75g plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 100g plain yoghurt

For the Ganache – Optional

  • 100g finely chopped dark chocolate
  • 120g double cream
  • 15g golden syrup


Pre heat the oven to 170/150 fan. Grease and line with baking parchment an 8 inch round cake tin.

Put the chocolate and cocao powder in a bowl. Pour over the boiling water and immediately cover the bowl with a plate. Set aside.

Beat the eggs, oil, sugar, vanilla and salt until lighter in colour and frothy – about 3 minutes with an electric whisk. Mix the chocolate boiling water mixture into a thick paste with a spatula. Scoop the lot, in one go, into the whisked egg mixture and beat to combine.

Add the ground almonds, flour, bicarb and yoghurt. Beat until just incorporated. Pour the batter into the tin and bake for about 40 – 45 mins, or until a knife inserted into the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs. Allow the cake to cool completley.

For the ganache, put the chocolate in a large bowl. Heat the cream and golden syrup until it is just about to boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let it sit for a min or 2. Stir it all together until smooth, glossy and beautiful. Spread over the cake straight away. Eat.

Caitlin x



Hey Joe,

Last week I wanted to be a French Pastry Chef – I still would like to be a French Pastry Chef – so I made Profiteroles! I’ve never been profiteroles’ number one fan, but I am now. I think I have seen profiterole light and I’m not looking back. I told Celestine that this post would be up a week ago (sorry Cel, hope you can make these as a post exam celebration pastry).

PURE joy.

Joe I’ve decided that you need to get a set of weighing scales. French Pastry Chefs don’t measure things in mugs. If you wanna make these get some scales plz because we are making PASTRY and you have to be precise with PASTRY. I found you some on Argos. They are £6. Bargain.

There are three components to a profiterole and to be honest they are all pretty easy. It just needs patience. First thing is making choux pastry. It’s the only pastry that is cooked off on the hob before it goes in the oven, pretty cool. The way it puffs up when it bakes is magic. It’s the result of steam from the water that you’ve cooked into the pastry dough when it was on the hob – very cool. The second component is chantilly cream. Lol. That is French Pastry Chef words for whipped cream and vanilla. Last bit is the chocolate ganache on the top, which you can make in under 5 mins.

oh my god look at this lil guy. Lil Buddha.

(Can’t take credit for this, it’s Paul Hollywood’s recipe, just in my words)

You will need a piping bag and a 2cm round plain round tip nozzle for this. A bit annoying, but worth it.


Choux Pastry

  • 65g plain flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs

Chantilly Cream Filling

You can mess with the measurements with this. It depends how sweet you want the cream and how much cream you want in each choux bun.

  • 200ml double cream
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or the paste from one vanilla pod, that’s what I used to get the specs of vanilla in the cream. Pods are really expensive though)

Chocolate Ganache

  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 150 ml double cream
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar


Pre heat the oven to 200, line 2 baking trays with greaseproof paper. Rub a bit of butter in the corners of the trays to stick the paper down.

Sift the flour onto a sheet of greaseproof paper and set aside.

Add the cubed butter and 120ml water to a heavy based saucepan. Melt the butter gently over a medium heat – don’t let the mixture come to a boil and start evaporating. Once the butter is completely melted, increase the heat to full and bring quickly to the boil. Once boiling, tip all the flour into the saucepan in one go. Remove from the heat and beat rapidly (RAPID, like, go for it) with a wooden spoon. The mixture will begin to ball together and come away from the sides of the saucepan.

Put the pan back on the hob, with a low heat. You want to keep beating the dough (not as rapidly, you can calm down now) for about 2-3 minutes. You are trying to cook the dough off a bit. You will see a sort of brownish skin start to form over the bottom of the pan – that’s good, you’re cooking off some of the moisture. After 2-3 mins of beating, tip the dough out into a clean bowl and leave to cool until tepid (not boiling hot).

Once the dough is cooled a bit, beat the eggs in a separate bowl until combined. Gradually add the beaten egg to the dough, bit by bit, beating well after each addition (use a wooden spoon or electric whizers). You might not need all the egg, because too much egg will spoil the dough and they wont puff…v sad. The dough has had enough egg when it is shiny, paste-like and falls from a spoon when shaken gently. You can use this test to see if you have added enough egg:

Get a bit of dough between two fingers…
…pull apart slowly…
…you want the lil peak of dough on your bottom finger to fall to a hook when your fingers are separated. If the lil peak stands upright it needs a bit more egg.

Spoon the pastry dough into a piping bag, fitted with a plain round tip that is about 2cm wide. Pipe disks about 4 cm apart on your baking trays. You can do this by keeping your piping bag in a fixed place for each choux bun, and just squeezing until you have the width you want. I made mine quite big, about 5cm wide. Keep in mind the smaller they are the less time they need in the oven.

Using a damp finger, gently flatten the little spike of dough from the piping bag on each disk of dough. Sprinkle a bit of water with your fingers on the tray – not the dough – and put in the oven for 15 mins. After 15 mins, without opening the oven door, reduce the temperature to 170 and bake for a further 10 mins, or until golden-brown and crisp.

Take out the oven and carefully make a steam hole in the side of each choux bun with a skewer. This will allow them to dry out inside. Return to the oven for another 5 mins or until the pastry is completely crisp. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Once the pastry is cool make the filling and topping. For the Chantilly cream, whip the cream, sugar and vanilla (paste or essence) until just stiff.

Visual Art of the day.

For the ganache, break up the chocolate into small pieces and put in a bowl, set aside. Heat the cream and sugar in a heavy based saucepan until it begins to simmer, you can swirl it every now and then so it doesn’t catch on the sides too much. As soon as it reaches a simmer, remove the cream from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Whisk the cream and chocolate together, you will see the chocolate melt into the cream and a smooth ganache magically appear!

Cut the top of each choux bun. If there are bits of soft dough inside the bun when you cut the top off just remove them. Use a piping bag or a spoon to fill the hollow choux buns with cream. Put the lil choux tops on and spoon a generous amount of chocolate ganache on top.

Now…..eat!!!!!!! And see the choux light.


Enjoy the profiteroles. Love Caitlin xxx

Chocolate and Hazelnut Viennese Whirls


Hey Joe

Last time we spoke on the phone, you said you wanted something ‘chocolatey, shortbreadey, ganachey’. I won’t lie to you, I don’t think ‘ganachey’ is a word. But I came up with a recipe that is all three of those things, including ‘ganachey’. This is my take on a Viennese Whirl. It’s two chocolate, shortbread like biscuits, sandwiched together with a chocolate ganache… they are SO peng. I’ve given you your mug measurements again, they’re in brackets next to the normal people measurements.

I’ll give you a couple of reviews so you know how good they are, ‘my second favourite bake, after the apple and blackcurrant bakewell tart‘ (Kanhai), ‘the business’ (dad), mum didn’t say anything. She just ate them, so I have no review from her. I’ll make one up from her – ‘very good’ (mum).

Aww the lil odd guy out


Chocolate Viennese Biscuits

  • 160g unsalted butter, very soft (just over half a pack of butter)
  • 65g icing sugar, sifted (half a mug of unsifted icing sugar, or just under half a mug if sifted)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract optional
  • 170g plain flour (just under a full mug)
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • A splash of milk

Chocolate Ganache

You will have a bit of left over ganache with this recipe

  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 150ml double cream
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar (golden or white)
  • A handful of chopped hazelnuts optional
This is the mug I used for you measurements. The mug of choice. It’s 10cm tall, 8cm wide. Try and find one roughly this size…..or GET A SET OF SCALES you mug.


Start by making your ganache. Break the chocolate into small chunks. Set the chocolate aside in a mixing bowl. To make ganache, you heat cream and sugar until it boils and then pour over chocolate, I’ll explain it properly below.

Add the cream and the sugar into a heavy base saucepan. Heat this on a medium heat bringing the cream to a simmer, stirring continuously. Once the mixture is simmering and all the sugar has dissolved completely, bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling remove from the heat and straight away, pour over the chocolate, whisking as you pour.

Hahah I mean it now when I say Visual Art

Cover the ganache with cling film, making sure the cling film is touching the ganache in the bowl and set it aside to cool.

Next make the biscuits. Pre heat your oven to 170 and line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.

Please ignore these pics…
…If you are…
…not Joe

Beat together the butter and sifted icing sugar until light and fluffy (this will take about 2 mins). Beat in the vanilla extract now, if you are using it, and a small pinch of salt.

Mix in your sifted flour, cocoa powder and generous splash of milk. Try not to over mix this, just until you can’t see any more dry flour.

Get the dough into biscuit shapes on your tray. There are two ways you can do this. A traditional Viennese Whirl is made by piping the dough into circles or rosettes with a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle. This is the way I used. You can also use a teaspoon. Scoop a heaped teaspoon of dough, roughly roll it into a ball with your fingers and place it on the tray. Use the tips of your fingers to flatten it slightly.

Whatever way you do it, they should be roughly 6cm in diameter – a bit smaller than a digestive biscuit – and spaced well apart on the trays. You should get about 16-18 biscuits. Bake for 15 mins or until firm to touch. It’s hard to tell if it’s done because of the chocolate colour – but have faith, they’ll taste good either way.

Once out the oven leave the biscuits to cool completely. When they are cool, pair up the biscuits. Give the ganache a stir and spread it generously on one biscuit per pair and sandwich the other biscuit on top.

You can sprinkle some chopped hazelnuts on top of the ganache to make a kind of baci kiss biscuit. You’ll need to spread a bit of ganache on the biscuit that you sandwich on top if you do this, so it sticks to the hazelnuts.

Have a good Chocolatey, shortbready, ganachey biscuit. Love Caitlin xxx

Dollar Dollar Millionaire’s Shortbread


Yo Joe,

This one will be your fav I think. These are BANGING. They are so good. I’ve eaten so many that I think I might turn into a millionaire’s shortbread. Caitlin, the millionaire (shortbread). Honestly just make these, you won’t turn into a millionaire, but you will be as happy as one, maybe even happier ?

Joe, as you read this, and even if you are not Joe, I want you to say ‘buttery biscuit base’ out loud. Go on, say it now. Ok now, repeat ‘buttery biscuit base’ out loud three times. ‘Buttery biscuit base. Buttery biscuit base. Buttery biscuit base’. Cool. Now repeat that three times again but drop the ‘tt’ in ‘buttery’. Now repeat that, but quickly. Great, and now you are a rapper!

so beautiful.


Buttery Biscuit Base

  • 225g plain flour
  • 175g butter, cubed and cold
  • 75g caster sugar


  • 150g butter
  • 100g golden syrup
  • 1 x 379g can evaporated milk or condensed milk (they do the same thing, evaporated milk is condensed milk without the sugar)

Chocolate Top

  • 350g chocolate, a mix of dark and milk (I think I used closer to 400g chocolate, but that sounds like a lot)


Pre heat the oven to 180. Line a square tin with greaseproof paper. I used a 23cm square tin, but a smaller one would work.

For the shortbread, rub together the flour, sugar and cubed butter in a bowl until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Once there are no more large lumps of butter scrunch the mixture together so it forms a dough. Try not to kneed the dough, just bring the crumbs together.

Put the dough into the lined tin and squash it down with your knuckles to cover the base of the tin. Use the back of a metal spoon to smooth and level out the dough. Prick the dough all over with a fork, making lots of little holes.

Bake in the oven for 30 mins or until the top is lightly golden brown. Set it aside to cool.

Me looking at my newborn

Once the shortbread base is cool, make the caramel. Put all your caramel ingredients into a saucepan and heat on a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until all the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth.

Increase the heat so the mixture comes to a boil. Keep stirring the mixture as it starts to thicken and become golden brown. This may take about 10 mins, don’t worry if it feels like it isn’t thickening, it will get there just keep heating and stirring. Once the mixture has thickened, and looks a golden brown colour, take off the heat.

I call this one – Action Shot

Allow the caramel to cool for 2 mins before pouring over the shortbread base. Smooth the caramel out with the back of a metal spoon and place in the fridge to cool and set.

today’s Visual Art

Once the caramel is cooled and set, melt your chocolate. Pour the melted chocolate over the set caramel, pushing the melted chocolate to the corners of the tin. Shake the tin to smooth out and level the chocolate. Put it back in the fridge to set.

Lol. It’s a lake of chocolate

Once the chocolate is set, take it out of the fridge and cut it into squares (or MASSIVE slabs).

Caitlin xoxox