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This is my chocolatey alternative to a Simnel cake – I’ve substituted the traditional fruit cake for a moist chocolate cake and the balls of marzipan traditionally used to decorate a Simnel cake have been replaced by homemade chocolate truffles. This is super rich – so it’s a treat and a half for the chocoholics out there.

For the cake:

175g self-raising flour

4 tbsp cocoa powder

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

150g caster sugar

2 tbsp golden syrup

2 eggs, lightly beaten

150ml milk

150ml corn or vegetable oil

For decorating the cake:

300ml double cream

300g good quality dark chocolate (about 70% cocoa solids)

30g butter

small pinch of salt

4 tbsp Raspberry or apricot jam

White chocolate to grate/peel over the top

Pre-heat the oven to 160C/140C Fan/Gas mark 3.

For the cake you will need to grease two 20cm sandwich cake tins, and dust them with flour.

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining cake ingredients and beat well, either with an electric hand whisk or with a wooden spoon, to give a smooth thick batter consistency.

Divide the mixture between the cake tins and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes, until just firm to touch. Leave to cool in the tins for about 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.

To make the truffle mixture, pour the cream in a saucepan and place over a medium heat. Once the cream is hot, but not quite boiling (small bubbles will appear on the surface) stir in the butter until melted.

While the cream is heating, break the chocolate into small pieces and place in a medium mixing bowl with the pinch of salt. Pour over the hot cream and butter, and stir well until the chocolate melts into the cream. Keep to one side.

Once the cake is cool, sandwich the two sponges together with the jam in the middle. Spread with the chocolate truffle mixture, leaving plenty in the bowl to make the 11 truffles. Place the remaining truffle mixture in the fridge for about 30 minutes until it is firm enough to shape into balls.

Roll into 11 truffles and place around the outside of the cake. Finish by grating or peeling (using a vegetable peeler) white chocolate over the top.

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