5 March 2021
MARCH BLOG

Hi! I’m writing this as the sun is shining and there are daffodils and the occasional crocus out and about when I venture outside for the allocated exercise break…

This will be a very short blog today: so short it’s more like a postcard (especially as all I’ve mentioned is the weather and a bit of nature – just the sort of fascinating information that I used to write home on the obligatory postcard when I was away from home as a child).

I’m a bit overwhelmed with a mix of work and family commitments, so, although I’ll keep up my monthly recipe, I’ll leave out the blog from now on for a while. You can still contact me via the email form: I love reading your comments and will always reply. Any thoughts, moans or ideas re my range in Home Bargains are always welcome.

As always, there are some great new additions to the range on the way: look out for a stunning Chocolate and Caramel Cake mix coming next month, plus of course some Easter specials: yellow frosting and some cute cupcake cases and toppers among them.

Have a good month and do keep in touch.

Love Jane x

MOTHER’S DAY CHOCOLATE AND STRAWBERRY CAKE

There’s something especially indulgent in the combination of chocolate and strawberries: whether it’s some whole fruits dipped in melted chocolate or a whole cake devoted to the two as here. But if there was ever a deserving case for indulgence it’s a Mum.

I’ve smothered this delicious cake with chocolate ganache: this is one of the simplest of all icings to make, although to get the totally smooth ice-rink shine can be tricky (mine has a few swirls and dips showing, but the sliced strawberries hide them pretty well). Using it on top of my Chocolate Fudge Cake makes it extremely rich, so the cake will make at least ten portions, especially if served with a few extra strawberries on the side.

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 1 x JA Chocolate Fudge Cake mix
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 100ml vegetable oil
  • 75ml water

For the icing

  • 80g softened butter

For the chocolate ganache

  • 100ml double cream
  • 100g chocolate chips (dark or milk, although in this case I think the dark works best)
  • 1 teaspoon butter (this helps the ganache to stay shiny when set)

1-2 punnets of strawberries

Method

Make up the cake mix as on the packet and bake and cool as directed. Meanwhile, make up the butter icing and slice enough strawberries to make a layer inside the cake and on the top. Once the cake is completely cold, spread all the butter icing over one of the cakes.

Add enough strawberry slices to cover the icing and add the second cake on top. Put the chocolate chips into a small heatproof bowl or jug. Bring the cream to simmering point in a small pan, and immediately pour it over the chocolate, pressing the chips underneath the surface of the cream with a spoon if necessary so they are covered.

Leave for a couple of minutes, then add the butter and, beginning in the centre, whisk the cream, chocolate and butter together so that they emulsify into a smooth, glossy sauce.

Leave the sauce to cool for a few moments before trying out a small spoonful on one edge of the cake to see if it will make suitable drips. If it’s still too runny, leave it for a further minute or two before trying again. Then simply pour it all over the top of the cake and encourage it to run over the edges into drips with a palette knife. (I’m so sorry I can’t give you any pictures of this stage – I was on my own in the kitchen and usually I can take photos of the steps with one hand: but this was just too difficult!).

Add sliced strawberries to the top. I think next time I do it I shall try putting the ganache around the edges and making the drips first, before then doing the top quickly in one go to try and achieve the ice rink effect, possibly even reheating it a little to make it smoother! But, to be honest this is so delicious that nobody will see much of the finished cake for long in any case…