Mixing chocolate and a hint of ginger together creates an intriguing blend of flavours in this moist, rich cake. To make sure the ginger doesn’t sink, it’s important to chop it finely.
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC (fan 160ºC/350ºF/Gas 4). Grease the sandwich tins and line the bottom of each with baking parchment. Put the cocoa powder into a large, heatproof bowl. Stir in 6 tablespoons of boiling water, then add the milk. Mix to make a smooth paste.
- Add the remaining cake ingredients and combine using an electric hand whisk for 1–2 minutes only (or 3 minutes with a wooden spoon); do not over-mix, or the cake may not rise.
- Divide the cake mixture equally between the prepared tins and level the tops. Bake for 25–30 minutes or until the cakes shrink away from the side of the tin and spring back when lightly pressed in the centre. Let the cakes cool for a few minutes in their tins, then turn them out and peel off the paper. Turn the cakes the right way up and leave to cool on a wire rack.
- Make the filling and topping: sift the icing sugar into a large bowl. Add the butter, stem ginger syrup, and milk, and beat together using an electric hand whisk (or wooden spoon) until well blended. Transfer one of the cakes to a serving plate and spread half the icing over the top. Place the second cake over the filling and cover the top with the remaining icing. Use the palette knife to draw large “S” shapes to give a swirl effect, then decorate the edge with the shredded stem ginger.
Keys to perfection
Smooth mixture: Cocoa powder can be lumpy, so mix it to a smooth paste with boiling water, then milk before adding the remaining ingredients. Use a wooden spoon to break up any lumps.
Evenly iced cakes: Make sure the butter for the icing is at room temperature, so it will spread easily. Use equal amounts of icing between the layers and on top of the cake, and cover right to the edges.
Buying and using cocoa powder: This cake looks and tastes very chocolatey, but it doesn’t actually contain any chocolate – it’s made with cocoa powder. Buy a good-quality cocoa powder, preferably an organic one. This will be darker than the less expensive varieties, and will ensure that your cake has a deep, rich chocolate colour and flavour.
Mary Berry Cooks the Perfect is published in paperback with an exclusive tote bag on 3 November. DK, £20.