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Happy Birthday Your Majesty

Queen Elizabeth II will be at Windsor Castle tomorrow as she is most weekends, but this one will be special. Her majesty celebrates her 86th birthday on Saturday and while her birthday plans may be private, one this we do know is that her favorite chocolate birthday cake will be on the afternoon tea menu.

Just like most of us who have family recipes passed down from mom and grandma , the royals have a family birthday cake recipe that dates back to Queen Victoria and written by her chef Gabriel Tschumi who rattled pans in the royal kitchens as long ago as 1899. It’s a recipe that I fine tuned for Queen Elizabeth II and made for her twice a year because Her Majesty has an official birthday in June and real birthday in April each year.

But it’s not just the Queen who loves this decadent chocolate treat. Every member of the royal family requests “The” Chocolate Birthday Cake too. And every cake looks the same because the pastry chefs are instructed never to write a name on the cake… just “Happy Birthday” …  Never Happy Birthday Your Majesty or even Happy Birthday Queenie !

Here’s the recipe, try it for your next birthday or just as a luxury dessert treat… after all it IS Diamond Jubilee year and besides, everyone loves chocolate… and Eating Royally !

“The” Chocolate Birthday Cake

Makes about 10 portions.

The sponge;

6 egg yolks

2 eggs

4 oz granulated sugar

2 oz flour

1 oz Dutch cocoa powder

2 oz melted butter

The topping and filling;

1 pint heavy cream

1 lb ghirardelli dark chocolate

At least 6 hours before baking the cake prepare the filling. Melt 8 oz of the chocolate and bring to the boil ½ pint of the cream.

Pour the cream onto the chocolate and whisk it until smooth, then refrigerate until set.

Turn on the oven to 350 degrees and set a pan (large enough to hold a mixing bowl) half full of hot water on the stove and bring the water to a boil. Line an 8 inch sponge tin with parchment paper and grease.

In a mixing bowl add the eggs, yolks and sugar and whisk together. Place over the bowl of hot water to allow the mixture to heat up.

Sieve the flour and cocoa and set aside.

Whisk the egg mixture until it doubles in volume and then fold in the butter and flour mixture. Spoon the mix into the cake tin and bake for about 20 minutes until the sponge springs back when pressed.

Remove from the oven onto a cooling wire and make the topping while the sponge cools.

Melt the remaining 8 oz of chocolate and bring to the boil the remaining ½ pint of cream. Pour the cream onto the chocolate and whisk it until smooth and then set aside off the heat.

  Slice the sponge into three discs and spread the filling onto the bottom two discs and reassemble.  Add the remaining chocolate mix to the hot topping and whisk in.

Place the sponge back onto the cooling wire and ladle the topping over the sponge allowing it to run down the sides. Cool the cake for at least 2 hours before decorating with chocolate and serving.

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