225g/8 oz best quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), broken into small pieces
3 tablespoons full fat milk
3 tablespoons double cream
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
4 eggs, separated
175g/6oz caster sugar
100g/ 3 and half oz unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
55g/2 oz plain or cake flour
1 and half teaspoons baking powder
pinch cream of tartar
Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 6
Lightly butter and flour a 9 inch springform cake tin and cut a circle of parchment paper to fit the bottom.
Place the chocolate in a bowl with the milk, cream and butter and set it over a saucepan of simmering water which must not touch the bottom of the bowl. When the chocolate has melted stir the mixture to bring everything together. Remove from the heat.
Meanwhile beat the egg yolks and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Quickly fold the chocolate mix into the eggs then sieve in the flour cocoa powder and baking powder,.
In a very clean bowl, whisk the egg whites with the cream of tartar until it reaches soft peaks. Fold one spoon into the cake batter to slacken the mixture then fold in the remainder until well combined.
Pour the batter into the cake tin and baking in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until the skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before turning out onto a cooling tray. The cake will drop slightly in the centre. Allow to cool and pour over the Chocolate Icing. When cool decorate with Dark Chocolate Shards.
CHOCOLATE ICING (Ganache)
600ml/1 pint double cream
600g/1lb 5oz dark chocolate 70% cocoa solids
Bring the cream to the boil and pour over the dark chocolate. Stir from time to time until the chocolate has melted but don’t overwork.
Ganache is one of those cheffy chocolate terms that everyone thinks is really difficult – it’s not.
Don’t use more than 70% cocoa solids otherwise it will be too bitter
DARK CHOCOLATE SHARDS
75g dark chocolate (not more than 70% cocoa solids), broken into chunks
Stir chocolate in medium metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth. Remove bowl.
Place sheet of parchment paper on your kitchen work surface. Pour the chocolate onto the paper.
Working quickly and using a palette knife or spatula, spread the chocolate in a thin layer over 40cm/10inch x 40cm/10 inch square. Place second sheet of parchment paper over, pressing to release air bubbles.
Roll paper up tightly into 2cm roll and chill until set, about 2 hours.
Arrange the chocolate shards on the surface of the chocolate icing.
Can be made 5 days ahead. Wrap in clingfilm and keep chilled.