PINE CONE CAKES

Yields16 Servings
 200 g unsalted butter, softened
 50 g dark chocolate chopped
 200 g self-raising flour
 40 g cocoa powder
 200 g light muscovado sugar
 2 large eggs
 200 ml soured cream
 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the butter cream
 175 g unsalted butter, softened
 250 g icing sugar
 50 g cocoa powder, sifted
 75 ml double cream
To decorate
 200 g flaked almonds
 cocoa powder for dusting
1

- Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas4

- Grease and line a 20cm x 30cm baking tin; melt the chocolate in a microwave in 30 second bursts; stir until smooth and cool slightly

- Sift the flour, cocoa and ½ teaspoon salt into a mixing bowl, then add the softened butter and sugar and beat together with an electric mixer for 2 minutes; in a separate bowl lightly whisk the eggs and mix in the soured cream and vanilla; slowly add this to the mixing bowl, beating until thoroughly mixed, then add the cooled melted chocolate and mix until smooth; scrape into the prepared tin and level out the surface with a palette knife; bake for 30 minutes until firm to the touch and starting to pull away from the sides of the tin

- Remove from the oven, cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out to cool on a wire rack

- To make the icing, beat the butter and icing sugar together until light and fluffy; add the cocoa powder and vanilla and beat again for 2 minutes; add the double cream and beat for 3 minutes until fluffy

- Cut the cake into 16 pine cone shapes; cover the top and sides of each sponge with a generous coating of the whipped buttercream. Then taking one flaked almond at a time, insert a third of the way into the buttercream, working from one end to the other to create a pine cone effect; dust with cocoa powder before serving

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