SUMMER CHOCOLATE CAKE

 

I’m pretty sure I’m not old enough for “when I was young” speeches, but the phrase keeps popping up in conversation. Particularly when it comes to this ridiculously hot weather that we have this year. To be perfectly accurate (and treat my vanity with love and care) I should paraphrase it as “when I was a child”. In those ancient times when dinosaurs just stopped scaring humans but mobile phones were still not in use we never took our seaside holidays before July 15 because real summer heat started just then. Having in mind that Italians, a nation of true hedonists have chosen August as official vacation month you know I’m telling the truth. I mean, you never heard of ferraluglio or ferragiugno, did you?
And then, June of 2017. was perfect for swimming and sunbathing, as well as for picking fruits in our family garden. Instead of getting ripe over a month or two everything – raspberries, currants, sour cherries – was sweet and perfect within 2 weeks! No question my family has quite an appetite, but still we could never eat all that while fresh. So we already have a pantry full of jams and marmalades. There’s even a nice selection of apricot preserves that used to be made in August!
Besides being healthy and tasty, I find fruit really beautiful and this lovely cake is a perfect way to use that quality. It’s very simple and won’t bring too much extra heat to your kitchen. Although chocolate is the main ingredient it is very light and refreshing thanks to fruit, absence of flour and just a spoonful of added sugar.

SPONGE
120g dark chocolate
40g sugar
3 egg yolks
4 egg whites
25g butter
Melt chocolate over the pot of simmering water, than add butter.
Use the half of the sugar to beat egg whites until firm. Whisk the other half with egg yolks until pale and fluffy. Gently fold everything together.
Line a round cake tin with baking paper and pour the mixture. You can use tins from 22 to 26cm, depending on thickness of the sponge you prefer.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and bake for 20 minutes, Set aside to cool.

JAM
Spread 4 spoonful (100-150g) of fruit jam over the sponge – the fruit should match the sort coming on the top of the cake. I made over 20 cakes like this for my friends and family (yeap, it’s quite popular) and used last years stock. If you want to make a fresh jam cook it in traditional way, using the same quantities of fruit and sugar. You can also lower the sugar content up to the 3/4 if you like your jam less sweet.

CREAM
250g chocolate
500ml double cream
I think chocolate cream doesn’t get any easier than this one!
Break chocolate into small chunks. Use half of the double cream to make soft whipped cream. Bring the other half to boil and pour it over chocolate to get a ganache. Fold everything together and spread over sponge. Leave in refrigerator for few hours, preferably overnight.
If you choose to make cream with white chocolate (which actually isn’t chocolate at all), and particularly if you plan your cake to be a gift, I recommend to use gelatin. Put 4 leaves (cca 10g) of gelatin in a bowl of cold water: When soft squeeze the water out and melt it in a spoonful of heated Maraschino liquor. Add to the cream and leave to cool as previously described.

Once cream is firm use your imagination to decorate the cake. Or simply pile up different kind of fruit – it will look gorgeous anyway!

Kraš is the oldest and most famous croatian sweets factory – they are producing chocolate, bonbons and cookies since 1911. Domaćica (meaning Housewife) is the most popular cookie brand both in Croatia and Slovenia and is exported all over the world. This year Domaćica celebrates it’s 60th birthday with a new raspberry/ white chocolate flavor. I used few cookies to decorate my cake made with same ingredients.