Melting chocolate and maple syrup cake with chocolate and star anise crumb

Melting chocolate and maple syrup cake with chocolate and star anise crumb


I suppose this is essentially a chocolate fondant, but it is a little lighter than most. Plus I love the flavour of star anise in the chocolate crumb – this is great for sprinkling over ice cream too. You can, of course, freeze the cakes before cooking and then bake them straight from the freezer, giving them 2 minutes longer in the oven. Freeze the banana chunks for the ice cream in a freezer bag.


Quantity Ingredient

For the chocolate and maple syrup cake

Quantity Ingredient
50g butter
70ml maple syrup, plus extra to garnish
50g dark chocolate, roughly chopped, (70% cocoa solids)
75g caster sugar
2 eggs
40g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1/2 banana, diced
1 tablespoon cocoa powder and baby mint leaves

For the chocolate and star anise crumb

Quantity Ingredient
75g plain flour
25g cocoa powder, sieved
40g caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground star anise
50g cold butter, diced
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg yolk

For the banana ice cream

Quantity Ingredient
4 bananas, cut into chunks and frozen
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
50-75g caster sugar
200-250ml creme fraiche


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Butter and flour 4 metal rings (7cm wide x 5cm high), then place on a baking sheet lined with silicone paper.
  2. Put 40g of the butter and the maple syrup into a saucepan and heat until melted, then add the chocolate and whisk until smooth. Remove from the heat then beat in the sugar, eggs and flour and set aside to cool slightly. Spoon into the rings on the baking tray – they can be chilled at this point until ready to bake.
  3. Meanwhile, make the crumb (shortbread). Place the flour, cocoa powder, sugar and star anise in a bowl and mix to combine. Add the butter and gently rub in until it forms a texture like fine breadcrumbs. Add the vanilla extract and egg yolk and continue to work until the mixture forms a ball.
  4. Press the shortbread mixture onto a silicone-lined baking tray to a thickness of about 5mm. Prick with a fork all over, then bake in the oven for about 15–20 minutes until just firm to the touch. Remove and place the tray on a wire rack until cold.
  5. When ready to serve, place the rings of chocolate cake batter into the oven and bake at 180°C for 8–10 minutes. They need to still be wobbly in the middle and just cooked around the edges.
  6. While they bake, put the frozen banana chunks into a food processor with the vanilla, half the sugar and half the crème fraîche. Blitz until the bananas start to break down, then add the rest of the crème fraîche and blitz until smooth. Check the sweetness and, if necessary, add the rest of the sugar.
  7. Heat a frying pan until hot and add the remaining 10g butter. When the butter is foaming, add the diced banana and sauté until just golden brown.
  8. When the cakes come out of the oven, dust them with cocoa powder through a small sieve. Press them out of the rings and place one on each serving plate. Crumble some chocolate shortbread next to each cake in a thick line, then spoon the ice cream over this. Garnish with the sautéed banana, baby mint leaves and a drizzle of maple syrup.
James Martin
Saturday Kitchen
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