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Delicious Death

Delicious Death

In the novel A Murder is Announced, Delicious Death is the name given by Patrick Simmons to a chocolate cake baked by Mitzi. Mitzi doesn’t like the name at all, as she thinks Patrick mocks her cooking.

According to Mitzi, chocolate, butter, sugar and raisins are needed to make it.

Trivia[]

Actress and baker Jane Asher created a cake named Delicious Death in 2010 to commemorate the 120th birthday of Agatha Christie. The recipe is said to be based on the ingredients mentioned in the novel itself: "a tin of butter sent from America, some raisins saved for Christmas, a slab of chocolate and a pound of sugar."

The cake was served at Greenway and the sixth International Agatha Christie Festival and at Brown's Hotel in Mayfair (believed to be the inspiration for Bertram's Hotel). An Agatha Christie birthday cake to die for.

Recipe for Agatha Christie's Delicious Death[]

Ingredients:

  • 175g dark chocolate drops (50-55% cocoa solids)
  • 100g softened or spreadable butter
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g ground almonds
  • ½ tsp baking powder

For the filling:

  • 150ml rum, brandy or orange juice
  • 150g raisins
  • 55g soft dark brown sugar
  • 6-8 glace cherries
  • 4-6 pieces crystallized ginger
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

For the decoration:

  • 175g dark chocolate drops (50-55% cocoa solids)
  • 150ml double cream
  • 2 tsps apricot jam
  • 10g crystallized violet petals
  • 10g crystallized rose petals
  • 1 small pt of gold leaf

Method: Pre-heat the oven to 150ºC, (300ºF, 135ºC fan assisted). Grease an 8" deep cake tin and line the bottom with baking parchment or silicone.

Prepare the filling in a small saucepan, combine all the ingredients and stir over heat until the mixture is bubbling.

Allow to simmer gently, while stirring, for at least two minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated and the mixture is thickened. Allow to cool.

In a small heatproof bowl, melt the chocolate drops over simmering water or in a microwave, being careful not to let it overheat. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until very pale and fluffy. Separate the eggs, setting aside the whites in a large mixing bowl, and, one by one, add four of the yolks to the butter/sugar mix, beating well between each one.

Add the melted chocolate and fold in carefully, then stir in the vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, mix together the ground almonds and baking powder, then stir them into the cake mix.

Whisk the egg whites until peaked and stiff, then fold gently into the chocolate cake mix.

Spoon the mix into the prepared cake tin, levelling the top, and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 55-65 minutes, or until firm and well risen. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning it out on to a rack to cool completely.

Using a serrated knife, slice the cake in half horizontally. Spread the cooled fruit filling onto one half and sandwich the two halves back together.

To decorate: put the chocolate and cream in a heatproof bowl and melt them together over simmering water or in a microwave.

Spread the cake all over with warmed apricot jam and place on a rack over a baking tray.

Keeping back a couple of tablespoonfuls, pour the icing over the whole cake, making sure it covers the top and the sides completely, scooping up the excess from the tray with a palette knife as necessary. Add any surplus to the kept back icing. Carefully transfer the cake to a 10" cake board or pretty plate.

Once the reserved icing is firm enough to pipe, place it in a piping bag with no. 8 star nozzle and pipe a scrolling line around the top and bottom edges of the cake. Leave for two-three hours to set.

Place the violet and rose petals into a plastic bag and crush them into small flakes. Sprinkle these liberally around the chocolate scrolls. Finally, with a cocktail stick, pull off some small flakes of gold leaf and gently add them to the top of the cake.

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