Starlight is a national charity that brightens the lives of seriously and terminally ill children by granting wishes-of-a-lifetime and providing a year-round entertainment programme in hospitals and hospices across the UK. This year is a big year for Starlight - it's their 30th birthday, so to celebrate 30 years of brightening the lives of seriously ill children, and to help raise funds to reach even more children, they're asking people to take part in the ‘Starlight Birthday Cake Bake’ during the week of 10th October by holding a bake sale for Starlight.
A number of celebrities including Nadiya Hussain, Joanna Lumley, Rob Brydon and Russell Howard, have lent their support to the campaign by sharing their favourite cake recipe. These are available to download in their free cake bake pack. I made celebrity chef Gino D'Acampo's chocolate panforte and in honour of Starlight, I made a star-shaped cake !
Gino D’Acampo’s chocolate panforte
For the cake:
250g good-quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
3 egg whites
3 tbsp runny honey
200g ground almonds
50g hazelnuts, skinless and roasted
50g candied peel
4 tbsp Amaretto liqueur (adults only!)
200g icing sugar
For the topping:
100g good-quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
200g icing sugar
2 tbsp icing sugar or sugar crystals to decorate
Break the chocolate into small pieces in a bowl.
Melt in the microwave or in a bain-marie.
The recipe calls for three egg whites and I had a pack of egg white powder in the cupboard that I had received in a baking hamper and never dared to try.
I decided to give it a go and emptied three sachets into a bowl - it's a very fine powder.
After adding the required quantity of warm water, it looked just like real, fresh egg whites but it had a strange and rather unpleasant smell. This didn't come through in the finished cake though.
Mix the honey into the egg whites.
The powdered egg whites weren't the only liberty I took with the recipe - I also decided to substitute the ground almonds for a sachet of chocolate Ready Brek, because I had loads in the cupboard that needed using up and the very fine oats have a similar texture.
Mix in the ground almonds/Ready Brek.
And the icing sugar, whole nuts and candied peel - I used all hazelnuts rather than a mixture of hazelnuts and walnuts and left out the candied peel.
Stir through the melted chocolate.
Press firmly into a clingfilm-lined cake mould and chill in the fridge for at least a couple of hours.
When it's totally set, press out and remove the clingfilm.
Make the topping by melting the chocolate and mixing in the icing sugar, spreading it over the top of the cake then sprinkling with sugar crystals. Cut into slices with a sharp knife and eat a sneaky slice or two before the kids (or your cake bake guests) arrive and scoff the lot !