Popping Candy Chocolate Cake



For the popping-candy base

  • 85g whole hazelnuts
  • 40g milk chocolate
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 100g popping candy (Cottees Strawberry Popping Candy)


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas Mark 4) and roast the hazelnuts for about 10 minutes until lightly coloured. Blend to a paste in a food processor, then set aside.
  2. Melt the milk chocolate in a bowl over low-simmering water (make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water). Stir in the mixed spice and popping candy.
  3. Fold in the hazelnut purée. Place your ring molds (or just use the ring of a springform tin) on a serving dish and gently press in the base mixture to a depth of about 1cm. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until hard.

For the chocolate mousse

  • 350g dark chocolate
  • 400ml double cream 
  • Pinch of salt


  1. Chop the chocolate into small pieces and place in a metal bowl. Bring 150ml of the cream to the boil in a small saucepan and pour over the chopped chocolate and stir gently until all the chocolate has melted, watching carefully to ensure it doesn’t take on a granular texture.
  2. Add the salt to taste. Once the chocolate has cooled to room temperature, lightly whip the remaining 250ml cream to soft peaks, but do not overwhip.
  3. Fold into the chocolate mixture. Pour over the base in the ring mould and place in the fridge to set for 2 hours.

For the chocolate glaze

  • 20g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 120ml water
  • 8 whole coffee beans (or instant coffee granules but adjust to your preference)
  • Couple of pinches of salt
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 70g unrefined golden caster sugar


  1. To make the glaze, chop up the chocolate and set aside. Place the water, coffee beans and salt in a pan, whisk in the cocoa powder, then set over a medium heat and simmer for about 3 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, put the sugar in a small pan and melt over a medium heat. Unrefined sugar will caramelise quickly, so keep an eye on it; when it does, pour over the coffee and cocoa mix — stand back, as it will bubble and spit.
  3. Beat in the chopped chocolate and, when melted, pass through a fine sieve. When cool, but still liquid, pour over the mousse to your preferred depth and return the cake to the fridge to set.
  4. To serve: run a hot knife around the inside of the ring before removing the cake. What I did was, I quickly blowtorched the outside of the food ring and gently eased it off the cake. I then used a small offset palette knife (make sure it’s hot) to smooth the outside of the cake.
  5. When slicing it, make sure the blade of the knife is nice and hot.

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