Chocolate cake, it’s one of those cakes that if I could get away with it, I’d dunk my head into one and only come back out once I’d eaten so much I’d think I was about to burst.
Homemade chocolate cake tastes fantastic because you’ve put love into it and then, when you share it with people who mean the most to you, it’s magical!
A couple of weeks ago, one of my fellow mummy friends explained that she was going to be on her own for her birthday as her husband was working offshore. “This won’t do!!” I thought to myself, so a couple of us went round for tea the night of her birthday, for an evening of Great British Bake Off and some of my surprise birthday cake.
I’ve never made chocolate cake before, but I was looking forward to baking one for my friend (and licking the bowl after, you’re never too old for that, right??)
I headed straight to Nigella after getting some advice from my foodie friends and plumped for her Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake. It looked the part & in her words “If you’re going to get started, this is the cake you should begin with”.
INGREDIENTS (8-10 slices)
For the cake
200g Plain Flour (sifted)
200g Caster Sugar
1tsp Baking Powder
1/2tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
40g Cocoa Powder (sifted)
175g Unsalted Butter (softened)
2 Large Eggs
2tsp Vanilla Extract
150ml Sour Cream
For the icing
75g Unsalted Butter
175g Dark Chocolate (broken into small pieces)
300g Icing Sugar (Sifted)
1tbsp Golden Syrup
125ml Sour Cream
1tsp Vanilla Extract
Any jam of your choice (optional)
Sprinkles or any decoration of your choice
- Take out all ingredients that are in the fridge, so that they can be brought up to room temperature.
- Preheat your oven to 350° F / 180° C / Gas Mark 4 and line & butter two 20 cm (8in) round springform tins.
- This is the best bit of the whole recipe so breathe it in!!… Put all your cake ingredients into a food processor (or bowl if using an electric whisk) and mix until you have a smooth, thick mixture…. Feels good doesn’t it?
4. Divide the mixture between your two tins and place them into your oven. They will be ready after 25 to 35 minutes. The best way to check if they’re done is to insert a thin metal skewer into the centre of the cake, if it comes out clean, it’s done. It will all depend on your own oven and how long it’s been on for before you put the cakes in. Mine took 25 minutes, so my advice is to start checking then.
5. Once done, take the tins out of your oven and place them onto a wire rack. Let them cool for 10 minutes before taking the cakes out of their tins and place them back onto the wire rack until they cool completely. Do not worry at this stage if there are any cracks or bits that have fallen off the cakes as any flaws will be covered in icing later!
6. To make the icing, place the dark chocolate and unsalted butter into a bowl and microwave until almost melted. Take it out and then give it a really good stir. You’ll find that the heat that had built up will continue to melt the final pieces of chocolate. Alternatively place a glass bowl over a pan of simmering water, taking care not to let the bottom of the bowl touch the water. Set aside your bowl to allow it to cool at little.
7. Once cooled, add your tablespoon of golden syrup, followed by 125ml of sour cream and your teaspoon of vanilla extract. Mix these together and then whisk in your 300g sifted icing sugar until well combined. You may, at this point, add a little boiling water (a teaspoon at a time) or icing sugar to make it to the consistency you want. It needs to be thick enough that it won’t run or drip off the cake as you spread it on.
8. At this point you are going to want to choose the plate or cake stand you’ll want your cake to sit on. Now cut out four strips of greaseproof paper and form a square outline on your plate. This is a great idea that I seriously recommend you follow as it stops any icing landing on your plate. Now place one of your cakes with the slightly domed side facing down onto the plate.
9. Spoon about a third of the icing onto the cake and spread it with a palette knife until you’ve evenly covered the top of the cake.
10. If you wish, spread a generous layer of jam on the bottom side of the other cake. It doesn’t matter which flavour of Jam, so anything that would go with chocolate, I used some homemade gooseberry and redcurrant jam. Now carefully place this cake, jam side down, on top of the iced cake, so that the icing and jam are now happily married together.
11. Spoon another third of the icing on top of the cake and spread it to create a textured pattern (go wild!!). Now, with the final third of icing, spread around the sides of the cake.
12. Leave the cake to set for a few minutes before pulling away the paper stripes to magically reveal your chocolate cake in all it’s chocolatey glory.
13. Decorate as simply or as extravagantly as you wish. I used sprinkles as I love their colours which seem to really pop against the dark chocolate.
Well, the cake went down really well. I loved baking & icing it, definitely not a stressful cake to make. I decided to include the jam as an added element to the cake and I think it works really well. Enjoy!
Melanie, Food Adventurer