Royal Birthday Recipes – Tschumi’s Chocolate Cake

Royal Recipes TV Programme 2017
On today’s Royal Recipes, the BBC 15-part TV programme, the subject was Royal Birthdays and Royal Birthday Foods and in this episode it was a Royal Recipes Chocolate Birthday Cake!

Today they didn’t use any of Mildred Nicholls’ recipes – in her book she had a recipe for Babas, but in the programme they made a Savarin a L’Orange, which was a pudding like a Rum Baba, served at the 21st birthday of King Edward VII’s eldest son, Prince Albert Victor, at Sandringham.

Again, today, the measurements of the ingredients were not given for the recipes.  The Savarin a L’Orange was long/complex, but there was also an easy looking cake that could be made by most people with the desire to.

The Royals have had the same chocolate birthday cake on their table for the last 100 years, since it was made for Queen Mary. Chef Anna Haugh made this chocolate birthday cake for Michael Buerk.  The recipe for Tschumi’s Chocolate Cake is named after Gabriel Tschumi, who was Queen Victoria’s chef.

Tschumi’s Chocolate Cake

  • You start by simmering a saucepan of water and having the ingredients in a bowl over the water. In the bowl are eggs and sugar. You need to keep stirring this, to get it full of air – it’s done once you can write the figure 8 in the liquid and see it.
  • Remove the bowl from the heat.
  • Next, sieve some flour into the liquid, so it incorporates as much air as possible. Fold the flour in with a whisk, it wasn’t a lot of flour at all.
  • Add melted butter (there wasn’t a lot of that)
  • Fold the flour and melted butter through, making a light batter consistency – ensure you’re folding from the bottom and lifting to the top. Not beating.
  • Make sure you can’t see any more of the butter or flour.
  • Divide equally between two cake tins, lined with paper at the bottom
  • Cook at 160C – because it’s warm already you don’t need the oven to be as hot as it usually is. 20-25 minutes.

Once the cake sponge has baked and been left on a rack to cool, you then build the layers of chocolate and cake:

  • Slice each of the two cakes into half, so you have four round slices.
  • Make a Ganache: this is a chocolate filling, as well as being the coating for the outside of this birthday cake.
  • Ganache: melt cream and sugar together in a saucepan until it is about to come to the boil – then pour it over a pile of chocolate pieces in another bowl on the worktop. Leave it to sit for a minute or so, you don’t want to lose the heat.
  • Start to whisk it very slowly. You don’t want to add air at this stage, just to melt the chocolate pieces.
  • The ganache needs to be at room temperature to build a cake, too hot and it sinks into the sponge.  Wait for the ganache to cool before coating the cake with it.
  • Spoon the cooled ganache into the centre of the first/bottom slice of cake and spread with a palette knife to the edge. Repeat for each of the four slices, building it up as you go. Quite thin layers of ganache.
  • Finally, tip all the remaining ganache on the top slice and this is also going to be used to go round the sides.
  • Nudge the ganache to the edges so it falls gently over the edge and round the sides.
  • Smooth it all over so all the cake sponge (top and sides) are completely covered.

Poached Chicken Dish:

They also showed a chicken dish served at Prince Charles’ 50th birthday – which was chicken breasts stuffed with a chicken mousse, then poached and sliced to serve.  That looked straight forward, but I’ll never make it.