One of my fondest memories of my holidays in Italy was definitely the ice cream, (or gelato!). When I was a child I used to spend such a long time in the ice cream parlours choosing what flavour to buy. I knew I couldn’t buy them them all, so I would get 2 different flavours each day to enjoy. Even now, when I visit Italy I get so excited with the mesmerising array of stunning ice cream flavours. One particular flavour which I used as my inspiration for this cake was stracciatella – sweet vanilla ice cream speckled with shavings of milk chocolate. The chocolate sponge is as divine and chocolatey as you can possibly imagine which is then layered with fresh whipped cream mixed with milk chocolate shavings. The whole cake is then covered with a thick layer of whipped cream and it is without a doubt one of the best chocolate cakes I have ever tasted. The filling is not so extravagant being a simple mixture of cream and chocolate pieces but when sandwiched between the rich sponges it turns into something extra special.
I made the cake for my brother’s birthday and he literally dug into the 1/4 of the cake leftover the next day. He is not normally the type of person to shower anyone with compliments but for this cake in particular he made an effort to highly credit me for my baking efforts which I really appreciated! So it is a big hit for birthday parties and I’ll keep that in mind when another birthday comes along and I am stuck for ideas on what cake to make that will please everyone’s taste buds.
2 cups plain flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
2 level tsp baking powder
1 level tsp baking soda
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
5 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup boiling water
900ml double cream
100g block plain milk chocolate
Preheat oven 200°C/Fan 180°C/gas 6. Line two 24cm spring form baking tins with baking paper.
Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda into a bowl. In another bowl whisk the sugar, eggs and 2 tsp vanilla essence. Add the milk and vegetable oil. Add the sifted dry ingredients and then slowly whisk in the boiling water.
Divide the mixture between the two baking tins. Bake for 30 – 35 mins.
When the sponges are cool, whisk the double cream with 3 tsp vanilla essence. Coarsely grate the chocolate and mix into 1/3 of the cream and use this to fill between the sponges. Use the remaining 2/3 of the cream to spread all around the top and sides of the cake.
Decorate with fresh strawberries and/or grated chocolate.