An impromptu dinner calls for an impromptu dessert, because after all what is a get-together without a happy ending?
When I knew we were going to my brother's for dinner I couldn't pass up the chance of wowing my little nephews with another dessert. Previously I had presented them with this beauty; a berry banana trifle.
I have to say the kids were particularly pleased but the adults weren't shy of a few helpings either.
A request for a chocolate cake with sauce brought up memories of school dinners which often featured a tray of light chocolate cake with runny chocolate custard. Does anyone else remember that? Some of you may have hated it but as a child who loved her school dinners, it's one of my fondest memories of school!
Newly inspired I went searching for a recipe that took my fancy when I came across The Caked Crusader's recipe for a Steamed Chocolate Sponge Pudding with Chocolate Sauce. Now this is more the kind of cake I like and what it really should have been at school. Looking back, that tray of cake was light yet bland and that also goes for the custard. I wanted to make something moist and rich with a sweet and creamy sauce. The Caked Crusader had the answer.
I didn't realise it's just so easy to whip up one of these beauties... well, in theory. In essence it's a 'mix-it-all-together-and-bake' kind of recipe; no secrets, no Part A and B...fuss free.
Chocolate Sauce happens to be just as gloriously fattening as I thought; chocolate, more chocolate, cream and syrup...plus vanilla essence. The actual recipe can be found on The Caked Crusader's post.
CC melts chocolate sauce straight into the pan but having recently watched Heston Blumenthal's channel 4 series 'How to Cook like Heston', I decided to go for his 'seducing chocolate' method. Basically use the bain-marie method for melting.
I wanted to just stop there and call it a day, after all melted chocolate is as good as any cake, right?
Having melted most of the chocolate I added the double cream. Oh what a joy.
Everything should be incorporated and just as I thought 'surely you don't need any more syrup!', I found it tasted just that much better with it than without. That means a definite sugar hang over the next day.
I scratched my head (then washed my hands) at the actual cake mixture because I wasn't sure what the batter was supposed to be like. Also, I was left worried because there aren't really clear step by step instructions for the mixing method. What is supposed to go in first? But it had to be done...
I gathered my courage and started mixing the butter and sugar, that sounds a bit cake like doesn't it?
I slowly added in the eggs and everything else and in a way I'm glad I was doing this alone. I'm sure my face wasn't a picture of confidence.
Having added everything together I found the mixture to be quite thick.
So an impromptu dessert often calls for improvisational methods; when I realised I didn't have a big enough pudding basin with a lid, I frantically turned my kitchen upside down only to find this little beauty. A plastic microwavable rice cooker! I knew I bought this for a reason...
Poor thing doesn't get used much because traditional methods definitely beat these radical ones when it comes to rice cooking. The contraption really is quite nifty if you are that lazy. You'll find you can steam anything in it and if you are stuck for a pot to wash things in it becomes quite useful. Oh and now apparently for steaming puddings too.
You are probably thinking that I microwaved the pudding! I kid you not I did have these thoughts in my head but as I poured the batter into the buttered basin I realised not all obstacles have been overcome. You see my brother and his family are extremely awesome and do not use microwaves in their house. I had no choice but to submerge the foil wrapped basin into hot water and steam.
An hour and a half later pudding was almost served but disappointingly enough I found a great big hole in the centre! Can anyone tell me why?
The smell was absolutely divine though. With help of the brother we tipped the cake upside down and proceeded to mould it back into a presentable shape. The hole in the centre was giving way to the weight so the beautiful basin shape was disappearing!
In the end the pudding disappeared within seconds anyway. It was moist, rich, not too sweet but sweet enough to the send the kids reeling. I have to say this is a winner of a recipe and I'm sure I will do this again. What fascinated me was that I happened to have made an inverted 'melt-in-the-middle' chocolate cake and I'm wondering how it is that I can get the sauce on the inside, next time....
An impromptu dinner calls for an impromptu dessert and somehow, I think it's the sweetest happy ending I could have hoped for.