“Don’t tell your guests about the popping candy in this simple chocolate ganache gateau. Instead, sit back and watch the surprise on their faces as the base starts exploding in their mouths. This dessert recipe is the perfect excuse for getting the power tools out, namely a paint gun, which can be bought at any good hardware shop. It’s great fun to use and the effect is spectacular, but the gateau has to be frozen for it to work.” – Heston Blumenthal

Heston’s Exploding Chocolate Gateau
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Chilling time: 2 hours
Freezing time: 4 hours
Serves 12

150 g all-butter shortbread biscuits
30 g unsalted butter, melted
2 Tablespoons white caster sugar
25 g neutral popping candy

Chocolate ganache
175 ml whipping cream
1 pinch salt
6 passionfruit, pulp only
50 ml fresh custard
110 g dark chocolate (minimum of 60% cocoa solids), broken into pieces
50 g milk chocolate, broken into pieces

500 g dark chocolate
200 ml vegetable oil

Cook’s notes
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C.
We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml.
All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed.
All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified.
All eggs are 55 to 60 g, unless specified.

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas mark 4. Place the shortbread biscuits on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Place the biscuits in a food processor and add the melted butter and sugar. Blitz until the mixture resembles fine sand in texture.

Gently stir in the popping candy. Place the mixture inside a 15 cm cake tin placed on a tray lined with baking paper. Flatten using the back of a spoon then put to one side to set.

Add the cream, salt and passionfruit to a small saucepan and place over a medium heat until it almost comes to the boil. Remove from the heat and allow to stand for 5 minutes, then stir in the fresh custard.

Put the dark and milk chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Place over a bain marie (a pan of gently simmering water) and allow to melt completely. Remove from the heat.

Strain the infused cream and add to the bowl of melted chocolate, one-third at a time, making sure to incorporate the cream thoroughly after each addition. Allow the ganache to cool to room temperature.

Once the tart base has set, use a pastry brush to spread some of the ganache on top of the base and around the edges, then place in the freezer for 5 minutes. This will ensure that the ganache will not seep through.

After 5 minutes, pour the remaining ganache into the ring and place the tart in the fridge to set for 2 hours. Place the tart in the freezer for at least 4 hours before flocking.

After the gateau is fully frozen, sit the gateau on a wide upturning glass or pot. Remove the metal ring by lightly warming with a blow torch. Remove by carefully sliding the ring downwards. Place back in the freezer.

For the flocking, break the chocolate into chunks and place in a small heatproof bowl. Melt the chocolate by placing the bowl over a bain marie. Leave to cool slightly before stirring in the vegetable oil.

Fill the base of a paint gun with the melted chocolate mixture and attach the nozzle. To avoid redecorating the kitchen in chocolate brown, set a large cardboard box on its side to provide a protective roof and walls to work in.

Remove the gateau from the freezer and carefully lift it onto a plate. Place the gateau in the cardboard box then spray it with the chocolate, turning carefully as you go. Return it to the freezer until 20 minutes before serving.

Want more recipes by Heston Blumenthal? Get these…


“In Germany, you can’t become a master pâtissier until you can make a Black Forest gâteau correctly. For me, it’s all about the chocolate, cherries and the kirsch.”

Paul Hollywood Black Forest Gateau recipe

Black Forest Gateau
Serves 12

For the sponge
200 g (7 oz) unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
200 g (7 oz) caster sugar
6 large eggs, separated
130 g (4½ oz) self-raising flour
70 g (2½ oz) cocoa powder
3 Tablespoons milk

For the filling and topping
3 Tablespoons kirsch
4 Tablespoons cherry jam
900 ml (32 fl oz) double cream, whipped
400 g (14 oz) tin pitted black cherries, drained and halved

To decorate
60 g (2¼ oz) dark chocolate (60% to 70%)
A handful of fresh cherries

Heat your oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Grease a 23-cm springform cake tin and line the base with parchment. Beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl, using an electric whisk, until the mixture is pale and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time.

Sift the flour and cocoa powder together into another bowl, then fold into the whisked mixture. Finally, fold in the milk. In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks. Gradually fold into the chocolate mixture until fully mixed. Pour this into the prepared tin and gently level the surface. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Leave the cake in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. To assemble, carefully cut the cake horizontally into three even layers (see tip below). Place one sponge on your serving plate and sprinkle evenly with 1½ tablespoons kirsch. Spread half of the cherry jam over the sponge then apply a layer of whipped cream on top, and spread it out with a palette knife.

Scatter over half of the cherries. Place another sponge on top, sprinkle with the rest of the kirsch, then repeat the jam, cream and cherry layers. Place the last sponge on top. Load a palette knife with cream and spread it all over, covering the entire cake in a thin layer of cream. Press finely grated chocolate around the sides and top. Pipe rosettes of cream around the edge and sit whole cherries on them.

Excerpt from A Baker’s Life: 100 fantastic recipes, from childhood bakes to five-star excellence by Paul Hollywood (Bloomsbury, 2017).


Happy National Peanut Butter Day!!! Here’s a very easy and quick chocolate peanut butter cake mug recipe for two! You actually only need five main ingredients and a little butter just to grease the mugs, then all is mixed together into something deliciously magical! Watch the video and learn how it is made.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake Mug
serves 2

100 g dark chocolate
1 heaped Tablespoon crunchy peanut butter
1 Tablespoon butter
2 large eggs
80 g caster sugar
40 g self-raising flour

*** For directions watch the video.

Want more chocolate and peanut butter recipes? Try these…

Chocolate–Peanut Butter Cereal Bars
Chocolate Peanut Butter Shortbread Squares
Peanut-Butter and Chocolate-Ice-Cream Sandwich Cookies
Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Peanut Butter Truffle Crispy Rice Bars