Three Years with Ellebug, or The Happy Hufflepuff

I went to nine schools throughout my academic career, moved houses 13 times, I work at one of the Big 4 accounting firms as a management consultant (which, besides having an incredibly high employee turnover, the nature of our jobs is that we do short term projects). Permanence is not a concept I am familiar with. So to be celebrating my third year of baking and writing this blog is kind of a B.F.D.

The past three years have seen quite a lot of changes in my life, my baking, and my work. I like to think I’ve grown and that writing here has helped me grow up and get to know myself a bit more… Imagine that, internalising through broadcasting my thoughts and other stuff out there. As a result of Ellebug (or The Happy Hufflepuff as we began so humbly three years ago), the work I’ve been doing, and the people I’ve met and become close to, I’ve built a strong appreciation for the art of reflection in the course of self discovery. I still have a long way to go, but it’s nice to have these handy tricks and tools to help me cope with feelings of stress and the occasional unprovoked discontentment that many of my fellow Gen Ys suffer from.

Right now, where I am… there are a few big decisions that I will have to make over the next year, sort of the big ones to take me through the last few years of my twenties. Hard to believe when I started this thing that I was in a different age bracket. Goshdarnit.

Okay, enough wallowing and vague sharing, let’s get down to business to defeat the Huns. I saw this recipe in my favourite food magazine, Delicious UK last year and knew that it would be THE cake I’m baking for my three year blog anniversary. Eric Lanlard’s epic celebration chocolate cake may have a longer list of ingredients than I usually prefer, but ooooh baby, was this cake worth it! I’m definitely going to be making this cake again, though in future I may substitute the butter icing filling with something more tangy. This cake was also the perfect one to go with cos it showcases my three favourite things: chocolate, ganache frosting, and berries.

And to make it extra special, I used only the best Lindt dark chocolate (75% single source) for the cake, the butter icing, and the chocolate ganache. It’s ok to splurge every now and then.

Blackberry Lindt Cake (Eric Lanlard’s Chocolate Celebration Cake)
For the cake:

  • 350g unsalted butter, softened
  • 350g golden caster sugar
  • 50ml black treacle
  • 8 large free-range eggs
  • 50g dark chocolate (at least 70 per cent cocoa solids), melted
  • 1 tbsp chocolate extract 
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp coffee extract
  • 300g self-raising flour
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 50g ground almonds
  • Blackberries to decorate (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/fan and line and grease 1 6″ deep round baking pan and 1 8″ deep round baking pan
  2. Combine the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder in a medium bowl and set aside
  3. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light, then add the treacle and continue to beat gently 
  4. Beat the eggs in one at a time, until light and fluffy then slowly add the melted chocolate
  5. Add the chocolate, vanilla and coffee extracts
  6. Add the flour until thoroughly combined then fold in the ground almonds with a rubber spatula
  7. Divide the batter between the two baking pans, filling each to roughly 3/4 up the pans
  8. Bake for 55 minutes for the 6″ cake, and 1 hour 15 minutes for the 8″ cake, or until a skewer inserted at an angle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow the cakes to cool for 10 minutes in the pans, then turn them upside down onto a wire rack to cool completely
For the butter icing:
  • 125g unsalted butter, softened
  • 200g icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp chocolate extract
  • 30g dark chocolate (70 per cent cocoa solids), melted
  • 2 tbsp whipping cream

Whisk the butter and icing sugar until mixed, then add the extracts and dark chocolate. Continue to whisk until combined, then beat in the whipping cream. Pop the bowl into the fridge to allow it to solidify slightly while the cakes cool, but be sure to take it out before you fill the cakes to let it soften.

For the ganache:

  • 250g single cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 2 tbsp light corn syrup
  • 250g dark chocolate (70 per cent cocoa solids), melted
  • 25g unsalted butter, softened
  1. Heat the cream in a saucepan over a low heat, then add the vanilla and light corn syrup and stir gently with a spatula until mixed
  2. Chop the chocolate and place in a medium sized heatproof bowl, pour the heated cream over the chocolate and let it sit for a few seconds before stirring with a spatula to melt it down. If necessary, put the bowl in the microwave for 20 seconds to reheat 
  3. Stir in the butter, pop the bowl into the fridge to chill slightly before decorating
Assembling the cake:
Slice both cakes into three layers using a long serrated knife, then top each layer with the butter icing. Once all six layers are stacked, cover with ganache frosting in a happily haphazard manner. Top with fresh blackberries, or raspberries, or strawberries, or chocolate curls, or really anything you like. Enjoy with a cup of coffee. 

Also, you may have noticed that the look of the site has changed a little bit. In conjunction with my three-year anniversary, I’ve decided to give Ellebug a little treat! The new logo is care of the brilliant Zurisha over at Tinytype: Propfolio. Please go check out her stuff, order from her, just go talk to her. She’s lovely! Thanks so much, Sha, I’m completely smitten by the little ladybug B and the whole thing! So cute! So terribly, terribly cute!

On a different note, is it smitten with, or smitten by? Couldn’t find a conclusive answer to this, and now I am legitimately worried I may have been making a mistake my whole life and will continue to make this mistake if I don’t find out!

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