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Georgina Hayden’s chocolate party cake recipe

Take your birthday cake to the next level by baking this Greek version.


Chocolate party cake from Greekish
Chocolate party cake from Greekish (Laura Edwards/PA)

“This chocolate traybake looks like any other right? Not right. It’s Greek, which only means one thing: it’s drenched in syrup,” says food writer Georgina Hayden.


“Before you roll your eyes at the Greek compulsion to drizzle cakes in syrup, let me tell you something: most simple chocolate sponges dry out so quickly. I’ve only ever met one cocoa sponge that I love and it is made with olive oil instead of butter, which keeps it moist. Otherwise, I think most chocolate sponges taste stale by the next day.


“This cake, however, is not only fantastically easy but stays beautifully moist for days – in fact, five whole days by my count. There is less sugar in the cake itself, so the sweetness is balanced out; honestly, you can’t really tell it has a syrup.


“It’s not sticky, but rather gives the sponge the most velvety texture. It’s the perfect cake for a party; kids and adults love the retro look, and even with the ganache icing it’s a breeze to make.”


Sokolatopita: chocolate party cake


Ingredients:

(Serves 12)


  • 375g caster sugar

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 50ml brandy

  • 125g unsalted butter, plus extra for the tray

  • 250g dark and milk chocolate (I like half and half)

  • 3 large eggs

  • 175g plain flour

  • 75g cocoa powder

  • 1tsp baking powder

  • ½tsp bicarbonate of soda

  • ½tsp fine sea salt

  • 200ml whole milk

  • 250ml double cream

  • Sprinkles or fruit (optional)


Method:


1. Place 175 grams of the caster sugar in a small saucepan with the cinnamon stick, brandy and 150 millilitres of water. Bring to the boil over a medium heat, then simmer for 5 minutes until syrupy. Leave to cool.


2. Preheat your oven to 190°C/170°C fan/gas mark 5. Grease a deep 30cm x 20cm tray. Melt the butter in a small pan or microwave. Finely chop the chocolate, then set aside. Place the eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk on a medium speed with the remaining 200 grams of caster sugar. After a minute, increase the speed to high and whisk for four minutes, until pale and voluminous.


3. Meanwhile, in a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the plain flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and fine sea salt. When the eggs are ready, whisk in the milk and melted butter, then fold in the dry ingredients and 50 grams of the chopped chocolate. Pour the batter into the prepared tray and bake in the oven for 25–30 minutes, or until just cooked through. When a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean, it is done. Remove from the oven and poke holes all over the sponge and evenly drizzle over the cooled syrup. Leave the cake to cool in the tin.


4. To make the ganache, place the remaining 200 grams of chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat the double cream until it is hot, but not boiling. Immediately pour the cream over the chocolate, leave for 30 seconds, then slowly stir until smooth. Leave to cool for 10 minutes then spread over the cake. Serve as it is or topped with sprinkles or fruit.


Greekish by Georgina Hayden
(Bloomsbury/PA)

Greekish: Everyday Recipes With Greek Roots by Georgina Hayden is published by Bloomsbury, priced £26. Photography by Laura Edwards. Available April 25.

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