My Little Lump o' Love Cake / by Delme Thomas

Well we all know what event happened this week, whether that brings us fluffy feelings of joy or eye-rolling nausea. For me, Valentine's Day is all about showing appreciation for that special someone in your life, rather than suffocating them with an oversized teddy, covering them in heart-shaped objects and making them sneeze with flower pollen. So for such an occasion, what better recipe than my Little Lump o' Love cake! This is one of my own cake recipes, and is totally up for your own interpretation. As a side note, if there's three things Ina Garten has taught me it is the following: 1) Geoffrey loves roast chicken. 2) It really is as easy as that. 3) Always add coffee to your chocolate cake as it makes it more chocolatey, which is why you'll find instant espresso powder in this recipe! 

Because this is a LITTLE lump o' love, this recipe is designed for two 6" cake tins, but if you wanted to make it a Big Hunk o' Love for 8" tins just double the quantities. So many puns. So little time.

You will need:

100g softened unsalted butter, 100g caster sugar, 2 eggs, 80g self-raising flour, 20g cocoa, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1tbsp oil, 1tsp espresso powder & a handful of dark chocolate chips.
Preheat the oven to 190C/170C fan - Butter and line your two cake tins - In a mixer, cream together the butter and the sugar - Add the eggs one at a time, mixing a little in between each addition - Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until combined - Once mixed, put in the handful of chocolate chips and stir them until well combined - Divide the mixture between two tins and cook for 20 minutes - Leave to cool in their tins for 10 minutes, then remove them to a cooling rack to fully cool.

Now you can finish the cake however you want. I decided on the classic combo of chocolate and strawberry for my cake. If you want to do as I did, for the chocolate buttercream you'll need:

60g dark chocolate broken into pieces, 1 tbsp cocoa, 2 tbsp boiling water, 90g softened unsalted butter, 8 tbsp icing sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract/paste & pinch of sea salt
Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie - Dissolve the cocoa in the hot water in a mug/jug & stir into the melted chocolate - Cream the butter with the icing sugar, vanilla & salt - Add the chocolate mix and continue to beat until fully incoorporated.

I used the buttercream to sandwich the cakes together, as well as spreading some homemade strawberry jam in the middle. Feel free to decorate as you'd like - if you make this in Summer, decorate it with fresh in-season strawberries for a lovely sweet kick. I can't take any credit for the buttercream, this is a recipe from Peyton & Byrne's book, British Baking. It is THE most delicious chocolate buttercream I have ever tasted. It's almost mousse-like!

This is such a lovely, chocolatey cake. And with the addition of chocolate chips into the mix, you get the odd chunk of chocolate with each bite. DELISH!

Hope you like my little lump o' love! Let me know if you try it, and send me pictures of how you decorated/adapted yours! And I hope you all had a lovely Valentine's celebration, whether that was spoiling someone else or spoiling yourself! x