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Thursday, 29 August 2013

food: decadent chocolate cake

I hardly ever make chocolate cake.

I'm much more of fresh, light type of cake girl. Lemon drizzle cake is a particular favourite, as is carrot cake with a lime mascarpone topping.

I knew then, that when I promised M a chocolate cake, it had to be a good one.

After scanning the Internet (and most of my cookbooks) for recipes, I chose to follow this one. Although I never usually pick American recipes (as I can't be bothered with converting the units from cups to grams), the feedback for this cake was so good that I couldn't resist.

I'd bought some chocolate especially for making the topic and as the recipe above didn't use real chocolate (only cocoa powder), I borrowed a Nigella recipe for icing. The icing itself is like a lovely ganache - beautifully soft.

Finally I decided to add a layer of apricot jam between the icing and chocolate cake. My friend Lucy did this on a birthday cake she made me and I liked it so much that I couldn't resist adding it myself.

So yes, the recipe below really is a mismash - but the result? Amazing! Such a decadent chocolate cake without being too rich. I may have eaten several huge slices.

Feeds at least 12

300g plain flour
450g caster sugar
140g cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sodium bicarbonate
1 tsp salt
1 tsp instant coffee granules
240 ml milk
120ml vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
240 ml boiling water
2 large eggs

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Prepare two 25cm sandwich tins with greased baking paper.
2. Add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, sodium bicarbonate and salt to a large bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon to combine.
3. Add the milk, vegetable oil, egg and vanilla to the flour mixture and mix together with either a wooden spoon or an electric mixer until well combined.
4. Dissolve the coffee in the boiling water and carefully add to the cake batter. Beat on a high speed for around a minute. Don't worry if the batter seems very wet to you - it's meant to be!
those are air bubbles, not lumps!
5. Distribute the batter evenly between the two cake tins.
6. Bake for 31-35 minutes, by which time a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean and the cakes will have begun to shrink away from the sides.
7. Remove from the tins and allow to cool on a wire rack.

For the icing:

5 tbsp apricot jam (warmed in a saucepan for a few minutes)
125 ml water
30g light muscovado sugar
175g butter
300g dark chocolate

1. Brush your cakes with the melted apricot jam.

2. Place the water, sugar and butter into a saucepan and heat gently until the sugar and butter have melted.

3. Remove from the heat and add your chocolate. Stir until it has all melted.

4. Leave for approximately an hour (stirring occasionally).

5. Spread the chocolate icing generously over the top of one of the cakes and place the other cake on top. Finally cover the top and sides of the cake with the rest of the icing.