Chocolate box surprise

Nutty brownies, ganache and assorted chocolates Billy Laws rich dessert makes an impressive dinner party dessert
By Billy Law
Chocolate box surprise
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 12
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes plus 4 hours setting time
  • Effort: medium


For the brownie (bottom layer)

  • 1 egg
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 200 g dark chocolate
  • 60 g unsalted butter
  • 30 g plain flour
  • 20 g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 50 g macadamia nuts, toasted then roughly chopped

For the chocolate ganache (middle layer)

  • 300 g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 375 ml thickened whipping cream
  • 110 g caster sugar
  • A box of assorted chocolate

For the chocolate glaze (top layer)

  • 100 g dark chocolate
  • 150 ml water
  • 55 g caster sugar
  • 55 g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 100 ml thickened whipping cream

Tips and Suggestions

This cake is very rich so you only need to serve small slices


1. For the chocolate brownie layer: Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease a 20cm square baking tin, then line the base and sides with baking paper.

2. Put the egg and sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk until thick and pale. Melt the chocolate in a large heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water over a low heat. Do not let the water touch the base of the bowl. Remove the bowl from the heat and stir in the melted butter. Fold in the sugar and egg mixture.

3. Sift the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder into the egg mixture, then fold everything together until well combined. Add the macadamias and mix well, then pour the mixture into the prepared tin. Spread the mixture with a palette knife to fill all the corners and smooth the surface.

4. Bake the brownie for 12 minutes, or until it is just cooked but still a little soft in the middle. Remove from the oven and leave to cool, then transfer to the refrigerator to set for at least 1 hour, or overnight.

5. For the chocolate ganache: Put the chopped chocolate in a large mixing bowl and set aside. Heat the cream and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the hot cream mixture into the chocolate. Let the chocolate soften for 2 minutes, then use a spatula to slowly stir the mixture from the centre in small circles, gradually increasing the stirring strokes until all the chocolate has melted. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

6. Take the brownie out of the refrigerator and randomly place the assorted chocolates on top of the brownie. Once the chocolate ganache has cooled down, pour it all over the brownie in the tin, to cover all the chocolates. Refrigerate again to set for at least 4 hours, or ideally overnight.

7. For the chocolate glaze: Put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat the water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Whisk in the cocoa powder and cream, bring to the boil, then immediately turn the heat down to low and simmer for 10 minutes.

8. Remove from the heat and pour the hot liquid onto the chocolate in the bowl. Let the chocolate soften for a minute, then stir the mixture until the chocolate has melted. Pass the chocolate mixture through a fine sieve and leave to cool to room temperature.

9. Take the chocolate out of the refrigerator. Dip the baking tin in warm water for 10 seconds, then remove the chocolate from the tin and set it on a wire rack over a baking tray. Pour the chocolate glaze over the top and let it drip over the sides, smoothing the surface with a palette knife if necessary. Carefully return the whole chocolate masterpiece back to the refrigerator to set for at least 1 hour.

10. Take the chocolate out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving. Use a kitchen blowtorch to gently reheat the chocolate glaze to make it glossy again. Slice the cake into small pieces with a hot, wet knife by dipping the knife in hot water for 10-15 seconds.

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