It’s Father’s Day on Sunday, and cake maker & Great British Chefs guest blogger Victoria Glass has a dilemma. Her Dad loves cake, but there isn’t specially a cake that screams “Father’s Day”. Discover the flavours that inspired her to create a cake that would please many Fathers out there. It’s gluten-free too.
Father’s Day doesn’t come with its own special occasion cake. Probably because it’s a made up day aimed at getting us all to buy more greetings cards, but I couldn’t care less about any of that. I love to send a card and will happily take any excuse going to celebrate. Luckily my dad loves a party too and agrees with me that no celebration is complete without a big slice of cake.
We all know there’s Christmas cake for Christmas and Simnel cake for Easter, but there’s no single, distinctive flavour that belongs specifically to Fathers. My dad, David, will almost invariably go for lemon drizzle, but somehow that doesn’t feel quite right as the cake to honour all Fathers with. You might as well try saying that all Bernards prefer Battenburg or all Stephens scorn everything but Sachertorte. My late Grandad, a George, loved cake above almost all things, second only to puddings and especially banoffee pie. I dedicated a banoffee cake to him a couple of years ago, which I know for a fact he would have loved, but that doesn’t quite fit the bill either.
So which cake is right for the part? What flavour deserves recognition as the cake to beat all others in the fight to represent fatherhood?
I can’t help but feel that to find an over-arching theme with which to celebrate the nation’s dads, I need to look to flavours that are usually acquired with age. Something with the sniff of leather armchairs, golf pars and pipe smoke about it. Not butch exactly, but the kind of cake that might quote a line from a Humphrey Bogart film at you, while popping the cork on some vintage port.
So, what tastes are acquired with age? Olives? I’ve already popped them in a chocolate fondant with varying levels of success, but that seems a little too outré to catch on. Steak tartare? Unless the cake batter stayed raw, it would just end up being a greasy hamburger in a sponge. Coffee? Hello. Whisky? It would be rude not to. Grown up dark chocolate, nothing too sweet? Now you’re talking. How about espresso and dark chocolate torte with whisky ganache? You had me at espresso… Happy Father’s Day!
Espresso and dark chocolate torte with whisky ganache
This cake is rich, close-textured and fudgy and also happens to be gluten free.
For the cake
Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan)/350°F/Gas Mark 4 and grease and line two 6” sandwich tins or two shallow 5” square tins
200g dark chocolate, melted and cooled
4 large eggs, separated
1 large whole egg
200g dark muscovado sugar
100g ground almonds
25g ground espresso
A pinch of salt
Whisk the egg yolks and whole egg with the sugar until thick, creamy and mousse-like. This will take a good few minutes with an electric whisk, so be patient.
Whisk in the almonds and espresso and add the melted chocolate.
In a separate, clean bowl, whisk the egg whites and salt with clean beaters until you get to the soft peak stage.
Add a third of the egg whites to the chocolate batter and whisk in vigorously to slacken the mixture. Fold the remaining egg whites into the batter with a large, metal spoon, being careful not to knock the air out.
Divide the mixture between your two tins and bake for 25 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave the cakes to cool in their tins on a wire rack before turning them out to cool completely.
For the whisky ganache
100g dark chocolate, finely chopped (you can blitz it all in a food processor if time is short)
100ml single cream
50g of light muscovado sugar (you can use dark if you have some left over from the cake and don’t want to buy two types of sugar)
50g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
A couple of tablespoons of whisky
Pop the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl. Place the cream and sugar in a saucepan and stir over a gentle heat until the sugar has dissolved.
Stop stirring and gently bring the cream to the boil, but only just. You don’t want it to come to a rolling boil.
Pour the cream over the chocolate and butter and leave to stand for 1 minute. Stir with a rubber spatula until everything has melted and the ganache is thick and glossy.
Add the whisky. Taste for whisky-ness, adding more if you wish. If you want it blow your head off with booze, you’ll need to add more butter otherwise it won’t set.
Leave the ganache to cool completely before sandwiching your cold cakes together with half the ganache and use the remaining to cover the top and sides with a palette knife.
Are you baking a cake for Father’s Day? Which cakes or desserts do you think would make a great sweet treat for the occasion?