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  • Nigella’s Winter Wonderland Cake
Nigella’s Winter Wonderland Cake

Nigella’s Winter Wonderland Cake

Brought to you by: Nigella
    10 serving
3.0 2 ratings Review this recipe

Prep time:

Cook time:

Serves: 10

“Perhaps, like me, you find yourself at Christmas surrounded by those who abominate dried fruit in all its seasonal manifestations. If so, this may well be the cake you need in your life. It's snowy marshmallow icing looks fabulously festive, even when you don’t get your old Christmas cake decorations out to adorn it, as I have here! The cake it covers (and fills) is deeply, darkly, lusciously chocolatey, intense enough to counter the sweet icing and tartly offset by a layer of raspberries in the middle. True, these are not seasonal, but I don’t expect you to use fresh: give them time enough to thaw, and frozen raspberries do the job perfectly. Tradition is a glorious thing, especially at this time of year, but I’m all for embracing Christmas rituals of our own.”
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  • 150g unsalted butter, cut into 5 slices, plus extra for greasing
  • 1 (100g) bar Menier Swiss Dark Chocolate 70% Cocoa, bashed and broken up inside the packet
  • 100g soft dark muscovado sugar
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 200g Homepride Plain Pre-sieved Flour
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 50g Green & Black’s Organic Cocoa
  • ½ tsp fine salt, plus a pinch
  • 2 large eggs, plus 2 large egg whites
  • 2 (5g) sachets Dr Oetker Free Range Egg White Powder (optional, if not using the fresh egg whites)
  • 50g soured cream (serve the rest of the tub with the cake, if you like)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 150g frozen raspberries
  • 150g golden syrup
  • ½ tsp lemon juice


Step 1

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/160ºC fan/gas 4. Grease 2 x 20 cm sandwich tins (preferably not loose-bottomed) with butter and line the bases with circles of baking paper. If you only have loose-bottomed tins, then cut the baking paper circles slightly bigger than the bases so they go up the sides of the tins just a little.

Step 2

Over low heat, start melting the butter in a heavy-based saucepan of 22-23 cm diameter. Put the kettle on. Tip the bashed-up chocolate pieces into the pan, and when the butter and chocolate are all but completely melted, pour in 250ml freshly boiled water, followed by the muscovado sugar and 125g of the caster sugar, stirring very gently to get rid of any lumps. When you have a smooth liquid, take the pan off the heat and leave the mixture to cool a little.

Step 3

Meanwhile, measure the baking powder, flour, bicarb, cocoa powder and ½ tsp salt into a bowl. Loosely whisk the 2 eggs, soured cream and vanilla extract together in a measuring jug.

Step 4

Tip the dry ingredients into the saucepan, and whisk slowly and carefully until smooth. Then gradually whisk in your jug of wet ingredients until everything’s incorporated and the batter is dark and glossy.

Step 5

Divide the batter equally between the prepared tins, and bake in the oven for 18-20 mins: the top of the cakes should be set (don’t worry about the cracks) and coming away from the tins at the edges. A cake tester will come out mostly dry but still slightly smudged with chocolate.

Step 6

Leave to cool on a rack for 15 mins or until you can handle the tins without oven gloves. Turn the cakes out, peel off the baking paper and leave until cold.

Step 7

While you wait, tip the frozen raspberries onto a lipped plate in one layer and leave to thaw.

Step 8

You can leave the cold cakes, covered, for a couple of hours, if needed, before icing them. But once the cake is filled and iced, it really is at its best served within 1½ hours or so.

Step 9

Now to the icing, which requires a bowl and pan that you can fashion into a double boiler. Put a very little bit of water into the pan and bring to a simmer. Put the egg whites into a wide-ish heatproof bowl that will fit over your pan (if you’re using the egg white powder, make it up first, according to packet instructions). You want the gentle steam from the water to heat the base of the bowl, but no water should touch it, ever! Add the golden syrup, remaining 125g caster sugar, lemon juice and pinch of salt and, using an electric hand-held whisk, beat the mixture vigorously for 5 mins: it starts off rather yellowy and very liquid, but when the 5 mins are up, you will have a firm, thick, voluminous and snowy meringue mixture. Lift the bowl immediately off the saucepan and place it on the cool kitchen surface.

Step 10

Sit one of the sponges, domed side down, on a cake stand or plate – 23 cm diameter at most or it will look lost – and spread enough of the icing to give you a layer about 1 cm thick. Then top with the thawed raspberries, leaving a pure white ring of icing about 2 cm wide all around the edge.

Step 11

Gently sit the other sponge, domed side uppermost, on top. Ice the top and sides, using a couple of spatulas for ease, swirling the top and smoothing the sides as best you can.

Step 12

Adorn with Christmas decorations if you wish, and leave for 30 mins or up to 1½ hours before you slice into it. Serve with the extra soured cream, if you like, and joy in your heart. Store leftovers for 1 day in an airtight container in a cool place.

Tips or serving suggestions

Allow extra time for cooling.

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