Chocolate licorice loaf cake with choc-licorice crumb and caramel

Chocolate, licorice and caramel cake.
Chocolate, licorice and caramel cake. Photo: Katrina Meynink

The adult version of the chocolate bullets of your childhood. Serve as is, or warm with fresh pear and ice-cream. The chocolate licorice crumb recipe makes about 2 cups.

Ingredients

350g licorice pieces, chopped

½ cup water

250g butter, cubed

1 cup (220g) castor sugar

4 eggs

1¾ cups cups plain flour

¼ cup cocoa powder

1 tbsp baking powder

70ml buttermilk

½ cup dark chocolate, roughly chopped

½ cup dulce de leche, to serve

Chocolate licorice crumb

100g plain flour

1 tsp cornflour

100g castor sugar

65g cocoa powder

1 tsp salt

85g butter, melted

1 tsp licorice powder*

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180C

2. Place the licorice pieces in a small saucepan with half a cup of water and put on medium-low heat. Cook for about 25 minutes or until the licorice has softened to a pulpy, paste-like consistency (you may need to add a little more water as you go as the rate of absorption varies between licorice brands). Set aside.

3. For the chocolate crumb combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix until thoroughly combined. Add the melted butter and stir until the mixture starts to come together and forms small clusters. Line a baking tray with baking paper and spread the clusters out across the tray. Bake for 20 minutes or until fragrant.

4. Remove from oven (the crumbs will be slightly tacky to the touch) and allow to cool completely on the tray. Set aside about ½ cup of cookie crumb and toss with the licorice powder (if using) for topping the cake. (Store leftover crumbs in an airtight container for one week at room temperature or one month in fridge or freezer.)

5. For the cake grease and line a 25-centimetre loaf tin. Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until pale and fluffy, then add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition. Fold in the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder, followed by the licorice puree, buttermilk and chocolate chunks.

6. Spoon batter into prepared cake tin and bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until the cake is firm to touch and just pulling away from the sides of the tin. Cool for a few minutes in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

7. To serve, place the cake on a platter, drizzle with dulce de leche and sprinkle over the cookie crumb and extra licorice pieces (if using).

*Licorice powder is available from health food stores. If you can't find licorice powder, add a few extra pieces of licorice to the top of your cake for an extra aniseed hit.

If you like this recipe, try Katrina's grown-up licorice rocky road