Berries and chocolate cake

Everyone in England would probably agree that this has been a long, dark and wet winter. Not particularly cold, just rainy and grey. Despite the daffodils and crocuses in full bloom, there’s still an icy feel in the air and it’s been so windy I often wonder if our fence is going to be blown away. Or our cat. However, the warmer weather has meant there’s already plenty of berries available, and whilst I am still waiting for the sweetest July strawberries (in time for Wimbledon), I am enjoying throwing these in deserts. This cake is very light in texture, as it’s made with olive oil, leaving room for indulgence with the filling and icing. Whipped cream, sugar and mascarpone make a great and simple filling that goes so well with berries and chocolate. Until we get better weather, here’s Spring on a plate!

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Ingredients

For the cake (a version of the muffins shown previously)
175g self-raising flour (I use Dove’s gluten-free, self-raising flour)
175g light brown sugar
150ml olive oil (not extra virgin)
30g cocoa powder
2 large organic eggs

Filling/Icing
150 ml double cream
150g mascarpone
50g icing sugar
1/3 tsp vanilla extract
a handful of strawberries, halved
a handful of blueberries

Method

For the cake
1. Lightly grease a 22 cm (9 inch) deep round cake tin and line the base with a circle of non-stick baking parchment. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F.
2. Whisk the olive oil, sugar and eggs in a large bowl, until pale. Don’t forget to scrape the sides. Add the cocoa powder and whisk low-speed.
3. Fold in the flour until well combined.
4. Pour the mix into the cake tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 20-25 minutes until cooked through and springy to the touch. Transfer to a cooling rack.

For the icing
1. Whip the double cream until until it holds soft peaks.
2. Add the mascarpone cheese, vanilla extract and sugar, and whisk only for a few seconds until it’s all well combined.
3. Cut the cake in half, horizontally and spread the cream evenly over the top of each cake and scatter the fruit over the cream. Store in the fridge.

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