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Sheer Indulgence

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225 g (8 oz) soft margarine
350 g (12 oz) caster sugar
4 eggs, plus 3 yolks
150 g (6 oz) self-raising flour, sifted
50 g (2 oz) orange-flavoured plain chocolate, melted
75 g (3 oz) cocoa powder
4 tablespoons (60 ml) liquid glucose
225g (8 oz) plain chocolate, melted
250 g (9 oz) butter, softened


Serves: 16


1. Grease and line an 18 cm (7 inch) square cake tin.

2. Put the margarine, 225 g (8 oz) of the sugar, 4 eggs and the flour into a large bowl. Using an electric whisk, beat for 3-4 minutes, until smooth, then beat in 1 tablespoon (15 ml) hot water. Stir in the orange-flavoured chocolate and 50 g (2 oz) of the cocoa. Spoon into the tin; make a dip in the centre.

3. Place in a preheated oven, 160˚C (325˚F), Gas Mark 3, for 1 hour or until risen. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out and cool on a wire rack.

4. Meanwhile, stir the liquid glucose into the melted plain chocolate. Continue stirring until the mixture leaves the sides of the bowl clean. Put into a plastic bag and chill until firm but not hard.

5. Dissolve the remaining sugar with 5 tablespoons (75 ml) water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over a low heat. Bring to the boil and boil until the temperature reaches 110˚C (225˚F) on a sugar thermometer, or until a drop of syrup forms a thread when pulled between your thumb and forefinger (drop it on to a saucer first).

6. Put the 3 egg yolks into a bowl. Whisking continuously, slowly pour in the hot syrup in a steady stream. Continue whisking until the mixture is cold.

7. Mix the remaining cocoa with 2 tablespoons (30 ml) hot water. Beat in the butter, adding a little at a time, until thick and glossy. Slice the cake in half horizontally, then sandwich together with one-third of the chocolate buttercream. Using a palette knife, spread the remaining chocolate buttercream over the top and sides of the cake.

8. Divide the chocolate and glucose mixture into 4 equal pieces. Knead 1 piece until soft and roll out to a 50 x 9 cm (20 x 3 inch) rectangle; reserve the trimmings.

9. Crimp the rectangle roughly and drape it around 1 side of the cake. Repeat the process of kneading and rolling the chocolate into rectangles to cover the remaining 3 sides of the cake. Pinch the edges together at the corners.

10. Mould the trimmings into chocolate leaves, 1 rose and 2 rosebuds and arrange in a corner of the cake. Leave to set before serving.


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