One of my most favourite girls in the world, Larissa, just celebrated her “Citizen Me!” party last night. She is now officially an Australian citizen and what better way than to eat, drink and be merry on a cold Autumn night in Sydney? And what better way to celebrate this than to eat at one of the best culinary places in Sydney: Leichhardt!
Oh just think of all the hearty meals offered: pasta, pizza, seafood, soups, rice dishes… I could go on and on. I was at a loss with what to order, but I knew that when in Rome Leichhardt, eat what Leichhardt-ians eat: pizza and pasta!
Seafood risotto with tomato sauce, cannelloni with ricotta and mascarpone and tomatoes, Leichhardt AND Norton St special pizza, penne sicilliana, penne arabiatta, AND penne napolitana. Ahhhh! I think about them I start to drool already.
Sadly, I forgot to take photos of the scrumptious meals, but let me tell you this… never underestimate the powers of authentic Italian cuisine!
After the big, hearty, heavy, delicious meal, we all trekked it back to the girls’ place a few streets down the road for some drinks and desserts. I brought my own little surprise (which wasn’t really a surprise because Larissa requested it) which I baked the night before to give the chocolate time to set and harden a bit.
Introducing… the chocolate ON chocolate ON chocolate mud cake (yes, I said chocolate three times).
Ladies and gentlemen, meet the chocolate mudcake with chocolate ganache middle layer, frosted with chocolate ganache and topped with chocolate buttercream and strawberries.
If that won’t scare away the chocolate-haters (if there exists any!), I don’t know what will.
Larissa is a huge chocolate fan and this was a tribute to her chocolate-ness, and I don’t think anyone would complain if chocolate was the last dish served before calling it a night.
Chocolate Mud Cake
Adapted from Exclusively Food
Makes 10-12 big servings
150g salted butter
200g dark cooking chocolate
1/2 tsp espresso powder
1/3 cup water
1 cup + 1 tbsp all purpose flour
¼ tsp bicarbonate soda
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp canola oil
- Pre-heat oven to 160 deg C. Grease and line a 20cm springform pan with baking paper.
- In a saucepan, melt the chocolate, 250g butter, espresso powder and water under low heat. Stir occasionally until all has melted and amalgamated. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
- Sift together flour, cocoa powder, and bicarbonate soda (I used the mixer to mix this so everything’s even). Add the caster sugar.
- In a measuring jug, combine the eggs, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla extract. Add this to the flour mix and combine.
- Add the cooled chocolate mixture to the batter intermittently in 3 batches.
- Pour batter on to prepared pan and bake for approximately 1 hour. Test the middle layer with a skewer until it comes out clean to ensure cake is cooked.
- Without removing from the pan, let cake set and cool for about 10 minutes. Remove the spring ring and again, let cool for another 20-30 minutes (it was a cold night so cooling wasn’t a big problem – hurrah!). Even out the top by slicing the cracked bits using a serrated knife. Cut cake in the middle to create 2 whole cake disks.
- Frost middle layer with ganache (see recipe below), place the top cake layer, and frost the top and sides with remaining ganache. Decorate as desired (I decorated it with some leftover chocolate buttercream and strawberries).
1/3 cup thick cream
200g dark cooking chocolate
2 tbsp icing sugar
- In a saucepan, melt chocolate and cream together on very low heat. Do not take your eyes off this as burnt cream or chocolate or BOTH could ruin the whole ganache. Mix occasionally until the chocolate has just melted, and remove from heat.
- Whisk in icing sugar (if using dark chocolate) until everything’s well amalgamated. Cool for a few minutes before frosting cake.