Don’t stress about making the custard
Custard is notoriously difficult to make from scratch but Lottie explains that it’s actually a really important skill to have as a baker as it can be the basis of lots of other dishes like ice cream and Creme Patissiere. “Take your time when you’re adding the hot milk,” she advises. “You just need to make sure the milk isn’t boiling – it should be around 43-45 degrees [celsius].”
Lottie adds that you need to continuously whisk the custard mixture. “Don’t walk away from it like I did or you’ll end up with chocolate scrambled eggs!”
Your sponge is supposed to be runny
Lottie takes inspiration from Nigella for this sponge recipe, adding oil and cold water to it, explaining that the emulsifying process makes the sponge really creamy. “It’s an incredibly wet batter so don’t panic – you’re literally pouring it in.”
Trust your instincts and don’t be afraid to break the rules
Although Lottie recommends baking the sponge at 160C, she explains that everyone’s ovens are different, so it’s best to keep an eye on the sponge and adjust the heat/timings based on how it looks. “They’re such amazing ingredients that whatever comes back will taste amazing.”
Get creative when it comes to decorating
“I used Maltesers in mine to decorate it but you just use your favourite chocolate, any chocolate that you want to go in it,” Lottie says, explaining that the holes you cut for the custard is the perfect space for your favourite chocolate.
Embrace the mess
“This cake is certainly not one for slicing into perfect slices and serving up round the table,” Lottie says, explaining that you will need a knife and fork to eat it and it may not look exactly how you planned, but it will taste amazing.
Eat it quickly and on its own
Lottie recommends trying to eat this cake in a day, or maybe two because that will be when it’s at it’s best, making it a great option for parties and big groups. She explains that you don’t need to add cream because the custard already adds that texture – she describes it as “an all-encompassing chocolate mess” – but that it does pair well with fruit, “if you want to cut through it with some raspberries, you can’t go wrong with some fruit but otherwise it’s pretty much everything you need from a bake in one slice.”