Dear HRH, Mary Berry, & the Platinum Jubilee Planning Committee - No. 84
Chocolate Cream Cake Elizabeth is fit for The Queen
You don’t typically hear from me on Friday, but today is the last day to enter the Jubilee Cake Competition as Britain searches for the best “pudding” to honor its Queen. My dear friend Julie in England asked me what cake I would enter if I could, and I asked you for suggestions, so here is our “entry.” Fingers crossed!
To whom it may concern,
I would like to submit an entry in your Jubilee Cake Competition. While not a British citizen, I did spend a year in Northamptonshire nearly 30 years ago and fell in love with the place.
I come from the United States, specifically from the South, where sponge cakes and baking are taken seriously and where no important occasion is complete without cake.
I’d like to propose a Chocolate Cream Cake Elizabeth as I know she is a big fan of chocolate.
While I considered a grand seven-layer sponge, with each layer representing a decade of her devoted tenure, I settled on a two-layer confection that most everyone throughout the land can bake at home over the June bank holiday.
It’s not a Victoria Sponge. That was the jam- and cream-filled sandwich cake named for her great-great-grandmother Victoria.
This cake is more modern, and yet it dips a toe in the 19th Century when it was made famous at the Parker House Hotel in Boston. With a thick custard filling it resembles what Americans know as Boston Cream Pie. (The words “pie” and “cake” were briefly interchangeable in American cake history because they were baked in the same pan.)
This Chocolate Cream Cake Elizabeth could be far more interesting because the layers might be split and filled with lemon curd or raspberry jam. The custard is scented with vanilla, but it could just as well be flavored with lemon zest and a bit of verbena to resemble the gin cocktail she enjoys.
The crowning touch to this royal cake is the dark chocolate glaze with a sheen that is shiny enough to impress Mary Berry and yet simple enough for the home cook to attempt.
On top, fresh flowers and berries and herbs - rosemary for remembrance and sage for wisdom. They speak to the toughness and tenderness she has shown to her people and the world in her 70 years as monarch.
I hope that Chocolate Cream Cake Elizabeth is met with your pleasure. Of course, this recipe would need to be tested with British ingredients, for I am not about to tell a country of bakers to make their pudding with American flour and eggs.
It’s just a suggestion of a most delicious sweet to honor a grand lady, the longest reigning British monarch, on her Platinum Jubilee in June.
Anne Byrn and her baking advisors at Between the Layers
Chocolate Cream Cake Elizabeth (aka Boston Cream Pie)
This cake recipe, adapted from my book, American Cake, is the perfect party cake for any grand occasion. God Save the Queen!
Makes: 12 to 16 servings
Prep: 55 to 60 minutes; 5 hours to chill filling
Bake: 18 to 22 minutes
1 1/2 cups whole milk, divided use
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 heaping teaspoon unflavored gelatin
Dash of salt
2 large egg yolks
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Butter and flour for prepping the pans
1 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature
3/4 cup chopped semisweet chocolate
3 tablespoons heavy (double) cream
1 tablespoon light corn syrup or golden syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. For the filling, place 1 ¼ cups of the milk and the sugar, gelatin, and salt in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk and bring to barely a simmer, whisking to dissolve the sugar and gelatin completely, 2 to 3 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium- size bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, cornstarch, and remaining ¼ cup of milk. Off the heat, pour 1 cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture and whisk to combine; then strain this mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining hot milk. Over medium heat, whisk the mixture continuously until it is thickened and bubbling in the center, from 4 to 5 minutes.
2. Remove the pan from the heat and strain it again into a medium- size bowl. Stir in the butter and vanilla. Whisk until smooth, then cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface. Chill the filling at least 5 hours, preferably overnight.
3. For the cake, place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease and flour the bottoms of two 8-inch cake pans.
4. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium-size bowl. Set aside.
5. Place the butter and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until combined, 1 minute. Slowly add the sugar, beating well on medium-high speed until the mixture is creamy and light, 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the eggs, beating in one at a time. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again. Alternately add the flour mixture and the milk to the butter and sugar mixture, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat until smooth. Divide the batter between the two pans. Place the pans in the oven.
6. Bake the cakes until they are lightly golden brown and begin to pull away from the sides of the pan, 18 to 22 minutes. Place the pans on wire racks to cool 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the cake, give them a gentle shake, then invert onto wire racks to cool completely, right-side up, about 45 minutes.
7. To assemble the cake, place one cake layer on a cake plate, and spoon the filling onto the center of the cake and spread until it barely reaches the edge of the cake. Place the second layer on top of the filling. Place the filled cake in the refrigerator while you make the glaze.
8. For the glaze, place the chocolate, cream, and corn syrup in a medium-size saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk until smooth, about 3 to 4 minutes. When the chocolate has melted, pull the pan from the heat, add the vanilla, and stir until smooth. Remove the cake from the refrigerator and spoon the glaze over the top of the cake and let it drip down the sides. Let the cake stand 10 minutes before slicing. If not serving the cake immediately, chill it until time to serve.
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