Tuesday, July 27

macaron challenge v3.0: raspberry & chocolate macarons

Is it horribly self-indulgent for people to google themselves? Yesterday, for the first time, I googled myself: "mybuttoncake". Funnily, the first result was a link to twitter. Alison Thompson's twitter! The Alison Thompson who brought us 'Macaron'. This is the best thing that has happened to me all week, and despite only being Wednesday, it's been a looong week. And pastries make such weeks much more tolerable.

I had some leftover raspberry puree from my peach melba cupcakes, so thought it a perfect opportunity to make some beautiful raspberry macarons. The puree is added to the ganache - along with some raspberry liqueur - which adds a beautiful tartness to the filling. See Alison's recipe for the correct amounts of each ingredient, or experiment as you wish. How am I going to choose just one recipe from this book as my favourite when they are all so absolutely lovely?!

After filling the macarons, I piped some whipped cream onto the top of each using a star tip, and finished with a fresh raspberry. It's a mouthful, but a delightful one. Here's to Wednesday. 

Thank you again, Alison. 

Recommended baking soundtrack: Solex - The Laughing Stock of Indie Rock. 

Monday, July 26

toffee apple cupcakes

Almost all of my co-workers are currently obsessed with 'Eat Me!', a delightful culmination of cookies, cakes and slices courtesy of Cookie Girl, and with very good reason. Not only is the extended title (The Stupendous, Self-raising World of Cupcakes and Bakes According to Cookie Girl) fantastic, but it's so
refreshing to have a baking book with new ideas on cupcake flavours with no pretense or snobbery. One of which is toffee apple cupcakes.

At the age of about 7, I remember my sister and I begging and pleading with my Mum to buy us a toffee apple whilst spotting them in the produce section of the supermarket (umm, what?!). They were one of the few things that Mum, in all her wisdom, denied us during our early childhood-- the list also including nutella and roll-ups. However, I suppose all adults eventually cave into their children, and we must have caught Mum on a good day, because we were finally victorious in getting our toffee apples. I don't really remember actually eating the toffee apple. Perhaps my memories are clouded with the overwhelming joy of getting what I wanted for so long. More likely that it was so dreadfully underwhelming once I had made it through the toffee surface that the consumption simply wasn't memorable. Regardless, there's something wonderful about toffee apples, and toffee apple flavoured things. So in seeing Burch & Perchese's take on a toffee apple, I wanted to try it. Well, a much easier and more simplified version.

Ingredients (makes 12)

(Recipe adapted from 'Eat Me!' and Burch & Perchese)

For cakes:
110 gms unsalted butter, softened
110 gms demerara sugar
2 eggs
170 gm apple, peeled, cored and grated
110 gms self-raising flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder, sifted

For caramel:
200gms dulce de leche
1/4 cup icing sugar, sifted

For toffee apples:
350g caster sugar
50g water
35g liquid glucose
2 granny smith apples, peeled
red food colouring, if you like

Preheat oven to 180C. Place 12 cupcake cases in a 12 capacity cupcake tin.

Cream the butter and the sugar together, bring aware that the mixture won't go as pale and creamy as usual due to the coarse grain of the sugar. Stir in the eggs, followed by the apple. Add the flour and baking powder and mix gently to combine. Divide mixture amongst cases, and bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of each cakes comes out clean. Remove from tin immediately and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

To make the caramel, mix dulce de leche with icing sugar, ensuring there are no lumps of unmixed icing sugar. Pour onto cakes and smooth, if needed.

For the toffee apples, scoop balls from the apples with a 2cm melon-baller and place in a small bowl of water until needed. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Place the sugar, food colouring (if using) and water into a heavy-based saucepan and heat gently over medium heat. Use a pastry brush dipped in a bowl of water to brush around the sides of the saucepan, to wash down any crystals on the side of the saucepan. Once the syrup is boiling add the glucose and continue cooking until mixture reaches 165C on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat and transfer to a cool, clean pan. Working quite quickly, pat each apple ball dry with paper towel. Using a toothpick, dip each apple ball into the syrup, coating as evenly as possible. Place toffee apples on baking tray to cool.

Top cakes with toffee apple. Be aware that the toffee will dissolve, particularly any surface touching the caramel topping. Because of this, these really are best eaten within half an hour of making to ensure they taste as wonderful as possible... and they really are wonderful! Eating a miniature toffee apple is so satisfying - it's the perfect toffee:apple ratio. The sweet sticky caramel also compliments the slightly tart apple cake.

Recommended baking soundtrack: Electrelane - The Power Out

Sunday, July 18

feature: la fête nationale- crêpe suzette cupcakes

Sigh. My last possible opportunity to use Bastille Day as an excuse. Honestly, I feel a tad exhausted, having also committed to other baking projects during the week. But aside from this, I still have recipes up my sleeve and painfully wish this week could be stretched out another few days. No profiteroles! No macarons! Millefeuille! Criminal, I'm aware. But on this final day, at this late hour, I bring you crêpe suzette cupcakes.

I feel a little ashamed to admit there was no flambé-action. But I did take as many of the flavours and textures of the traditional dish as I could when turning them into a cupcake-- orange, alcohol and crêpes, of course.


For cakes:
125 gms unsalted butter, chilled and chopped
1 cup caster sugar
4 tsps finely grated orange rind
3 eggs
125 mls milk
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour, sifted

For sugar syrup and candied peel:
1 cup caster sugar
zest of two oranges, thinly sliced
1/4 cup Grand Marnier or Cointreau

For whipped cream:
300 mls thickened cream
1/4 cup icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

For crêpe (will make about 10 crêpes):
1/2 cup plain flour
220 mls milk
1 egg
20 gms butter, melted
icing sugar, to dust

Preheat the oven to 180C. Place 12 cupcake cases in a 12 capacity cupcake tin.

Place the butter, sugar and orange zest in a small saucepan and stir over a low heat until sugar has dissolved. Transfer to a large bowl of an electric mixer. Add the eggs, flour and milk and beat until just combined.

Divide the mixture evenly among cases and bake for 15 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

To make the lemon syrup, place the alochol, sugar and 125 mls of water in a small saucepan. Stir over a low heat until sugar has dissolved. Add the orange zest, bring to the boil, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until syrupy. Strain syrup into a heatproof bowl or jug, reserving candied rind.

Pierce each cake with a few holes using a skewer. Generously brush each cake with warm syrup.

For whipped cream, place cream, icing sugar and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until almost stiff peaks. Just until the mixture holds its shape, but is still soft and velvety. Nothing is worse for piping on cakes than over-whipped cream. Pipe the cream onto cakes using a piping bag fitted with a large star-shaped tip.

For crêpe, sift flour into a large bowl, making a well in the centre. Whisk milk and eggs in a jug with a fork to combine. Add to flour mixture and use a whisk to stir, gradually drawing in flour to make a smooth batter. Stir in 1/2 tablespoon of butter. Cover. Set aside for 30 minutes.

Heat an 18cm (base) crêpe pan over medium heat. Brush with a little of the remaining butter. Pour 2 tablespoonfuls of batter into centre of pan and swirl quickly to coat base. Cook for 2 minutes, or until golden and lacy. Turn and cook for a further 30 seconds. Transfer to a plate. Cover with foil to keep warm. Repeat with remaining batter, if using, greasing pan in between crêpes. Dust with icing sugar.

Cut a crêpe (or more, if needed) into ribbon strips, about 1cm wide and 5cm long.

To finish cakes, place a few strips of candied orange peel onto each cream peak. Top with a ribbon of fresh crêpe.

My boyfriend ate two of these it one sitting. As much as he loves cake, it seems I'm always ordering him to eat more to get as many opinions as possible, and this - this eating without encouragement - is a rarity, so I take that as a compliment. I think the alcohol content in the syrup could be increased slightly. Tasting the syrup itself lead me to believe it was perfect, but when infused throughout the cake it loses a bit of its sharpness. I suppose this will always come down to individual taste, but just keep this in mind. 

So this is it. The end. My apologies for brutally destroying French tradition. Avec amour. 

Recommended baking soundtrack: St Vincent - Marry Me

Friday, July 16

feature: la fête nationale - apple tarte tatin cupcakes

Apple tarte tatin is such a classic, simple, but oh-so-delicious dessert. My first homemade experience was a Donna Hay recipe for individual strawberry and vanilla bean tarts, and despite requiring a criminally small amount of effort, was so unbelievably delicious that I simply can't ignore this French treat in my Bastille feature. So, mine is not quite a tart. I did consider incorporating puff pastry somehow... but I think all this baking is somehow affecting my creative ability. That or I just really wanted to go to bed last night. I think some kind of pastry decoration would really finish it off nicely, though. It needs a bit of crunch.

Ingredients (makes 12)

For cakes:
(Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart)
1 1/2 cups plain flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder, sifted
1/4 tsp salt
110 gms unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 eggs
90 mls buttermilk

For caramelised apples and caramel sauce:
80g butter
4 red apples, peeled and cut into thin slices
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
160 mls thickened cream

Preheat oven to 180C. Place 12 cupcake liners in a 12 capacity cupcake tin.

Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce speed to low. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture in three additions, alternating with buttermilk and ending with dry. Scrape the sides of the bowl throughout to ensure mixture is evenly beaten.

Divide mixture evenly among cases. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of each cake comes out clean. Remove from tin immediately and cool on a wire rack.

For caramelised apples, place butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until butter is melted begins to foam. Add apples slices to pan in a single layer to ensure even caramelisation. You may have to do multiple batches if necessary, so divide ingredients as required. Cook for about two minutes on each side until lightly browned. Add brown sugar and cream to pan and stir to coat apples. Cook until mixture thickens, then remove from heat.

Arrange apple slices on each cupcake, and spoon over warm caramel sauce.

The brown sugar pound cake doesn't have a fine crumb like most cupcake recipes, but I think its thickness really works in this case. You could substitute it for any caramel/apple cake recipe if you'd prefer a more moist cake, but I back Martha on this one.

I suggest eating them warm with a dollop of cream, as you would a classic tarte tatin.

Recommended baking soundtrack: Mélanie Pain - My Name

Thursday, July 15

feature: la fête nationale - crème brûlée cupcakes

The quintessential French dessert. My all-time favourite dessert. Can I disappoint traditionalists twice in one week? Heck yes, I can. First in a tart, and now in a cupcake. 

Ingredients (makes 12)
Recipe adapted from Indulgence Cupcakes

For cakes:
185 gms unsalted butter, softened
160 gms caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
3 eggs
125 gms self-raising flour
30 gms plain flour
125 mls milk

For custard:
275 mls milk
3 egg yolks
55 gms caster sugar
2 tbsps plain flour

extra caster sugar, for burning

Preheat oven to 180C. Place 12 cupcake cases in a 12 capacity cupcake tin.

Beat the sugar, butter and vanilla together in an electric mixer until light and creamy. Add the eggs, onw at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift the flours together and fold through the butter mixture alternately with the milk. Divide the mixture evenly among the cases. Bake for 15 minutes until golden, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean. Remove cakes from tin immediately and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

To make the custard filling, place the milk in a saucepan and bring just to the boil. Remove from the heat. Beat the egg yolks, sugar and flour until thick and pale. Gradually whisk in the milk. Return to the saucepan over a low heat and stir until the mixture bubbles and thickens. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly while preparing the cupcakes to be filled.

Using a small, sharp knife, cut a hole our of each cake, leaving about a 1cm border at the edge. Discard (or eat!) cake middles. Fill the cavity of each cake with about 2 tsps custard. Refrigerate until custard is set.

Sprinkle the custard of each cake with caster sugar, and caramelise with a culinary torch until crispy and golden. Beware of the cupcake liner! If your cupcake liners sit quite high, it may be best to remove the cakes from the cases when using the torch.

Because of the relatively high egg content, these cakes are so lovely and dense, and work wonderfully with the silky custard and crunchy crust. A nice change from what people traditionally expect a cupcake to be.

These really are best eaten immediately to enjoy the crack of the caramelised sugar. Similar to the crème brûlée tarts, you can always store extra cupcakes in the fridge and caramelise when ready for consumption.

Recommended baking soundtrack: Françoise Hardy - Comment Te Dire Adieu

Wednesday, July 14

feature: la fête nationale - peach melba cupcakes

Despite being a French creation, this dessert cupcake really isn't suited to a southern-hemisphere Bastille Day celebration. I desparately wanted to use fresh poached, blushing peaches, but you make do with what you have! Tinned peaches and frozen raspberries. Shame, really.

Named after the Australian opera singer, Dame Nellie Melba, Peach Melba was created by French chef August Escoffier around 1892. It generally consists of ice cream topped with with peaches and raspberry puree. For this cupcake version, I've taken a lovely sour cream cupcake batter and plopped a tinned peach half on top before baking. The crème Chantilly tastes an awful lot like the flavours of a nice vanilla ice cream, and the raspberry puree gives a much needed tartness. Top with flaked almonds, if you like.

Ingredients (makes 20)

For cakes:
220 gms self-raising flour
45 gms desiccated coconut
125 gms unsalted butter
230 gms caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
125 gms sour cream
825 gms tinned peach halves or slices in juice (you'll need 20 peach pieces)
250 mls peach juice

For crème Chantilly:
600 mls thickened cream
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/4 cup icing sugar

For raspberry puree:
300 gms raspberries (thawed, if using frozen)
juice of 1 lemon
juice of 1 orange
caster sugar

Preheat oven to 180C. Place 20 cupcake liners in two cupcake tins.

Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl, the add the coconut and make a well in the centre. Melt the butter and sugar in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat.

Whisk the combined and peach juice into the sour cream. Add both the butter and the egg mixture to the well in the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until combined.

Divide the mixture evenly among the cases, and place a peach on the top of each cake. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Remove cases immediately from the cupcake tin and allow to cool on a wire rack.

For crème Chantilly, beat cream, icing sugar and vanilla until thick, creamy and almost at stiff peak stage. You want the mixture to be able to hold its shape, but still be velvety smooth.

For raspberry puree, process all ingredients in a food processor until combined.

To finish, pipe cream onto cakes using a piping bag fitted with a 1cm plain tip. To get a dome-shape, hold the piping bag about 1cm away from the surface of the cake, and keep directly centered. Gradually move your hand further away from the cake as the dome grows.

Spoon over raspberry puree and sprinkle with some toasted, flaked almonds.

With the addition of both peach juice and sour cream, this cake recipe is beautifully moist and the coconut goes almost unnoticed. I made these with gluten-free flour for my co-workers and they turned out perfectly. My peaches also sank to the bottom, disappointingly but expectedly. If you'd like them higher in the cake, try tossing them in flour before placing them in the batter. My recipients, however, liked the surprise they discovered at the bottom of the cake.

The recipe for the puree will yield a lot more than what is required, but can be kept in a container in the fridge for a few days, or even frozen for later use.

Recommended baking soundtrack: Nouvelle Vague - Nouvelle Vague

Tuesday, July 13

feature: la fête nationale - vanilla brûlée tart

There's only one thing that could make a crème brûlée more desirable. Crisp, golden pastry. Thanks once again to Bourke Street Bakery, I've found something I was previously lacking in my life, without even realising it.  This heavenly creation takes the concept of the classic French dessert, and enhances the experience by a delicious, dark and flaky pâte brisée, with a hit of tart strawberry puree. If you can't visit one of their bakeries to try the real thing, re-creating it at home is the next best thing.

Similar to their flourless chocolate cake, Bourke Street deliver a quite involved recipe. The benefit of this is in the results-- if you follow this recipe down to each detail, you really will come so close to their gorgeous creation, it will surprise you. It's not difficult, but takes patience and is really best if you start this more than 24 hours before.

Ingredients (makes 20)
Recipe adapted from Bourke Street Bakery: The Ultimate Baking Companion

For strawberry puree:
250 gms strawberries, washed and hulled
120 gms caster sugar
For crème brûlée:
720 mls pouring cream
1 vanilla bean, split lengthways
10 egg yolks
80 gms caster sugar

extra caster sugar, for burning

1 quantity pâte brisée (see recipe in BSB), used to line 20 8cm round fluted loose-based tart tins.

To make the srawberry puree, put the strawberries and sugar in a food processor and process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.

To make the crème brûlée custard, put the cream into a saucepan. Scrape the seeds of the vanilla bean into the cream and add the bean. Bring to the boil over a high heat. As soon as it boils, remove from the heat and set aside to infuse to ten minutes.

Place the egg yolks in a large stainless steel bowl and use a whisk to combine. Add the sugar and continue whisking for about 30 seconds or until sugar has dissolved.

Pour the slightly cooled cream through a fine sieve, discarding the vanilla bean, the pour cream into the egg mixture, stirring well to combine.

Put the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl does not touch the water, and continue stirring with a whisk for about 10 - 15 mins, or until the mixture is smooth and thick, scraping down the bowl regularly with a rubber spatula. It is important to keep stirring at all times or the mixture will curdle.

Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk briskly for about 2 mins to cool it quickly. Over the next hour, whisk mixture every ten mins until cooled.

Use a rubber spatula to clean the sides of the bowl thoroughly and place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the mixture, to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate overnight to set.

Follow direction in Bourke Street Bakery: The Ultimate cooking companion to prepare and bake 20 pastry cases.

To assemble tarts, spoon about 3/4 tsp of strawberry puree in the centre of the base of each tart shell. Pipe the custard into each shell with a piping bag fitted with a plain 1cm tip. You should slightly overfill each. With a small palette knife, scrape the custard to sit flush with the top of the tart shell. Refrigerate for 4 hours.

Sprinkle 1 tsp caster sugar onto the top of the custard and burn with a culinary blowtorch until caramelised.

I caramelised half of my tarts, saving the rest of the filled tarts in an airtight container in the fridge until needed, leaving them up to a few days. The pastry will soften but is still utterly delicious. If you caramelise all of the tarts at once, it's best to eat them fresh as the lovely crack of the brûlée will soften in the fridge over time.

You'll also have a hole lot of strawberry puree remaining, so you can half the quantity if you like, but it tastes delicious on just about anything and is a very handy thing to have in the fridge. You could also freeze and use for later, if you like.

Recommended baking soundtrack: Coralie Clément - Toystore.

Monday, July 12

feature: la fête nationale - french toast cupcakes

As much as I hate the term 'francophile', I love all things French, both stereotypical and otherwise. So, in celebration of Bastille Day this Wednesday 14 July, I'll be filling my button cake with a week's worth of french-inspired recipes! By saying 'french-inspired' I'm obviously leaving myself room to bastardise traditional signature dishes and avoid criticism about not being truly authentic. Please forgive me!

My first entry is definitely a perfect example of me disappointing the French, with a recipe that technically has little to do with France aside from its name. But with a name like 'french toast cupcakes' can you honestly blame me?

This recipe is adapted from a fantastic book by Xanthe Milton, otherwise known as Cookiegirl. 'Eat Me!: The Stupendous, Self-raising World of Cupcakes and Bakes According to Cookie Girl' features some positively original recipes, divided by season, for beautiful cupcakes and cookies-- her Halloween ideas are truly inspiration.

Ingredients (makes 12)
Recipe adapted from 'Eat Me!'

For cakes:
170 gms plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
110 gms unsalted butter
225 gms granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 tsps vanilla bean paste
2 tsps maple syrup
50 mls milk

For cream cheese frosting:
165 gms butter, softened
165 gms cream cheese, softened
675 gms icing sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp cinnamon (or more, if you like)
brown food colouring

For french toast hearts:
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsps pouring cream
30 gms unsalted butter
4 thick slices brioche

ground cinnamon and icing sugar, to dust

Preheat oven to 180C. Place 12 paper cases into a 12 capacity cupcake tin.

Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt into a bowl. Melt the butter and let it cool slightly.
In a large bowl, whisk the sugar and eggs together, then add the melted butter. Mix the vanilla, maple syrup and milk in a separate bowl. Stir the flour mixture into the egg mixture. Add milk mixture, and beat until well combined.

Divide the mixture evenly amongst the paper cases, filling each to be about three-quarters full. Bake for 20 mins until a skewer inserted into the middle of cakes comes out clean. Remove cakes from the cupcake tin immediately and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

 To make the icing, beat the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer until smooth. Add the icing sugar, a third at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Add the cinnamon with the last of the icing sugar, and tint icing with brown food colouring to be a subtle, warm brown.

Using a piping bag fitted with a plain 1cm tip, pipe icing onto cakes.

For french toast, beat the eggs together with the vanilla and cream. Heat the butter in a non-stick frypan over a medium heat. When butter is sizzling, dip the brioche slices in egg mixture, the place in the pan. Cook the brioche for 2 mins on each side, or until golden and crispy. Dust with cinnamon.

Using a small cutter (I used a 4cm heart shape), cut 12 shapes from french toast. Place on each cupcake, and dust with icing sugar.

I intended to make my little french toast toppers into toast shapes, but this proved far too fiddly without a cutter.  Even without the french toast to top, these cupcakes still have a surprisingly beautiful french toast flavour. Best eaten as soon as possible, obviously!

Thank you to my dear friend Nicole for introducing me to this recipe.

Recommended baking soundtrack - Moriarty - Gee Whiz But This is a Lonely Town

Friday, July 9

bourke street bakery's flourless chocolate cake

Between my eleven co-workers, there are seven dietary requirements. Because of this, I'm always on the lookout for a good gluten free dessert recipe. Most of the time this means I'm relying on gluten-free flour, which though blows my options sky high, just doesn't work with all cake recipes; Layer cakes crumble too much when cutting, recipes with a heavy batter need a little something extra to hold it together, and those without a great deal of other flavourings or fillings have a slightly unexplainable aftertaste.

It seems my recent adventures in baking have been addressing some of my culinary fears. I find the idea of flourless chocolate cakes so much lovelier than they ever turn out to be. In theory, they perfectly address my need for a workplace-worthy dessert; Rich, wonderful either warm or at room temperature, and a decent shelf-life. But, I like my cakes high and proud, with perfect edges and a beautiful plateaued surface. The potential of a slightly sad, flat, shriveled and concave cake has always meant I steer well clear of flourless cake varieties. But seeing and reading about Bourke Street's recipe, and having tasted and baked a safe number of their other sweet treats, I had to give this a shot. Since then, I've made this cake twice in a mere week.

Ingredients (serves 12, generously)
Recipe from Bourke Street Bakery: The Ultimate Baking Companion

260 gms dark chocolate (55% cocoa), finely chopped
135 mls milk
40 gms full-fat yoghurt
4 eggs
105 gms caster sugar, for eggs
4 egg whites
160 gms caster sugar, for egg whites
135 ml (4 1/2 fl oz) pouring (whipping) cream (35% fat)
55 g (2 oz) unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

Preheat the oven to 150C. Grease a 20 cm springform cake tin and line the base and sides with baking paper - the paper should come about 2.5 cm above the tin.

Put the chocolate in a large stainless steel bowl and set over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl does not touch the water - the bowl must be large enough to hold the whole cake mix. Allow chocolate to sit over simmering water without stirring until almost melted. Remove from heat, mix until smooth.

Put the milk and yoghurt in a saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to the boil. Remove from heat. Don't worry, you should have a curdled milk mixture.

Put the eggs and the sugar for the eggs in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk the eggs at medium speed for about 10 minutes, or until the mixture is very light and has doubled in volume. Set aside.

In another very clean and dry bowl of an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks, then slowly add the sugar for the whites, whisking until soft peaks form a shinny meringue. Be careful not to overwhisk. Refrigerate until needed.

Whisk the cream until soft peaks form. Refrigerate until needed.

You should now separate bowls of melted chocolate, curdled milk, whipped eggs, meringue, whipped cream and cocoa powder. Pour the curdled milk into the chocolate and use a whisk to mix it in, then add the cocoa and whisk to completely incorporate. Fold in the whipped eggs in three batches, making sure you completely incorporate the first batch before adding more. Don't be too concerned if you can still see streaks of eggs with the following batches. Lightly fold the meringue into the whipped cream, taking care not to knock out too much air. Fold this into the chocolate mix in three batches, making sure you incorporate the first batch before adding more.

Using a spatula, scoop the cake batter into the prepared tin and tap it twice gently on the bench to even out the mix. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes.

Do not disturb the cake for the first 45 minutes of cooking, after which time you should rotate it to ensure even cooking. You may need to cover the top of the cake with baking paper and lower the oven temperature if the top of the cake is starting to brown, but it didn't come to this for me. Test to see if the cake is baked by gently placing your hand on top of it and wobbling it a little, you should feel that the cake has set through. Remove from the oven the allow to cool for about 30 minutes in the tin before removing the sides. When completely cool, slide the cake onto a serving plate, to serve. I finished it with a dusting of cocoa.

It is best to use a sharp fine-bladed knife to cut this cake. Have a jug of very hot water, dip the knife in, and leave for about 10 seconds to warm the blade through. Dry the knife on a tea towel before slicing. Repeat this process after every slice for a perfectly clean cut.

The cake can be kept at room temperature  in an airtight container for a couple of days, or in the fridge for up to five days. I usually prefer all chocolate cakes warm, but this one is honestly as good at room temperature. It can be freshened up by placing it in a 150C oven for about ten minutes. Best eaten with double cream.

So this cake isn't picture perfect. It's cracked and slightly weak at the knees, but I find its ugly character utterly charming. It doesn't hurt that it tastes like heaven, of course.

And please don't let the length of this recipe intimidate you. All techniques used are simple, you just have to be organised, with plenty of bowls and a patience for strictly sticking to the recipe.

Recommended baking soundtrack: Peter & the Wolf - Lightness.