Gizzi Erskine’s Black Velvet Cake

Serves 10-12

For the cake:
250g unsalted butter, chopped into cubes, plus extra for greasing
250ml chocolate stout or Guinness
100g plain chocolate (70% cocoa solids), broken into pieces
35g cocoa powder
400g golden caster sugar
2 eggs
142g natural yogurt
1 tbsp vanilla extract
275g plain flour
2½ tbsp bicarbonate of soda

For the icing:
1 x 75cl bottle of Champagne
500g cream cheese
200g icing sugar
250ml double cream

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Butter and line the base and sides of a 24cm, deep, round, loose-bottomed cake tin.
2 Melt the butter together with the stout or Guinness in a large saucepan, then add the chocolate. Once melted, add the cocoa powder and sugar and mix well.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, yogurt and vanilla extract, then add to the chocolate mixture. Whisk in the flour and bicarbonate of soda and whisk to a smooth batter.
4 Pour into the tin and bake for 45 minutes. If a knife comes out clean, it’s done. Leave to cool in the tin.
5 Meanwhile, make the icing. Pour the Champagne into a saucepan, bring to the boil, and reduce it until just 2 tablespoons remain. Leave to cool completely, then add to the cream cheese in a large bowl. Add the sugar and lightly whip until smooth.
6 In a separate bowl, whip the cream until it thickens but still retains its shape. Fold the cream into the cream cheese mixture until smooth and spreadable. Chill it for an hour or two while the cake is cooking and cooling.
7 Remove the cake from the tin. If the top is a little crusty and domed, level it with a knife (save these bits for decoration), then cut the cake horizontally into 3 even slices. Lay the base slice on to a cake plate or stand. Spread over 4-5 tablespoons of the icing, sandwich the next layer on, then repeat.
8 Take half the remaining icing and ice the sides of the cake, levelling it to a smooth, 3mm-thick layer. Pour the remaining icing on top and level it out flat. To finish, blitz the excess cake in a food processor and sprinkle the black crumbs neatly around the edge of the cake.

Recipe from ‘Gizzi’s Healthy Appetite’ by Gizzi Erskine, published by Mitchell Beazley RRP £25.


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