Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Nigella's Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake

I was having a few friends over for an afternoon tea party one day, and already, I knew what I was baking that morning.

I stumbled upon this chocolate cake recipe from The Little Teochew (adapted from domestic goddess, Nigella Lawson) not too long ago, and was already immediately on my next (to bake) list. So not surprisingly, sour cream was on my shopping list on our next expedition out to the shops. The allure of simple, old fashioned chocolate cake was far too great, especially if you're a pregnant chocoholic.

Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake
Adapted from Nigella's Feast


200g plain flour
200g caster sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
40g best-quality cocoa
175g soft unsalted butter
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons real vanilla extract
150ml sour cream

75g unsalted butter
175g best quality dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
300g icing sugar
1 tablespoon golden syrup
125ml sour cream
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract

1. Take everything out of the fridge so that all the ingredients can come to room temperature.

2. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line and butter one 23cm or two 20cm sandwich tins with removable bases.

3. Now all you have to do is put all the cake ingredients – flour, sugar, baking powder and bicarb, cocoa, butter, eggs, vanilla and sour cream – into a food processor

4. and process until you have a smooth, thick batter. If you want to go the long way around, just mix the flour, sugar and leavening agents in a large bowl and beat in the soft butter until you have a combined and creamy mixture. Now whisk together the cocoa, sour cream, vanilla and eggs and beat this into your bowl of mixture.

5. Spread into the prepared tins and bake until a cake tester, or a thin skewer, comes out clean, which should be about 35 minutes - 40 minutes.

6. Remove the cakes, in their tins, to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes before turning out of their tins. Don’t worry about any cracks as they will easily be covered by the icing later.

7. To make this icing, melt the butter and chocolate in a good-sized bowl either in the microwave or suspended over a pan of simmering water. Go slowly either way: you don’t want any burning or seizing.
8. While the chocolate and butter are cooling a little, sieve the icing sugar into another bowl. Or, easier still, put the icing sugar into the food processor and blitz. This is by far and away the least tedious way of removing lumps.

9. Add the golden syrup to the cooled chocolate mixture, followed by the sour cream and vanilla and then when all this is combined whisk in the sieved icing sugar. Or just pour this mixture down the funnel of the food processor on to the icing sugar, with the motor running.

The steps that I omitted:

10. When you’ve done, you may need to add a little boiling water – say a teaspoon or so – or indeed some more icing sugar: it depends on whether you need the icing to be runnier or thicker; or indeed it may be right as it is. It should be liquid enough to coat easily, but thick enough not to drip off.

11. Choose your cake stand or plate and cut out four strips of baking parchment to form a square outline on it (this stops the icing running on to the plate). Then sit one of the cakes, uppermost (ie slightly domed) side down.

12. Spoon about a third of the icing on to the centre of the cake half and spread with a knife or spatula until you cover the top of it evenly. Sit the other cake on top, normal way up, pressing gently to sandwich the two together.

13. Spoon another third of the icing on to the top of the cake and spread it in a swirly, textured way (though you can go for a smooth finish if you prefer, and have the patience). Spread the sides of the cake with the remaining icing and leave a few minutes till set, then carefully pull away the paper strips.

On my first attempt (oh yes, I've made this cake more than a handful of times since!) of making the chocolate ganache, I am shameful to admit that I did used up a mish mash of whatever leftover chocolate I have in the pantry: dark, milk and even white! To say the least, the outcome was a vicious, sweet, oh yes very VERY sweet chocolate icing. I had my guests almost in a sugar fit, if there's such a thing. But yes, we were very high from sugar. And because of that, I decided not to use too much of the icing sugar an hence a slightly runny icing. The glistening chocolate ganache slid onto the cake and like molten lava, dangerously flooded the entire cake plate.

We then mopped it up with more sugar! Lachy dotted the entire cake with marshmallows! The result: mind blowing sugar high!

Nevertheless, the cake was amazingly moist, the texture is soft and fluffy and the unadultered rich chocolate flavour was just to-die-for!

I baked it once again...

And again...

And this one is a double-layered smooth (almost!) frosted chocolate cake for my brother, my nephew and my niece's birthday. Happy Birthday three of you!

Oh yes, for the subsequent chocolate frosting, I used dark chocolate with 70% cocoa content, and substituted 50g of icing sugar with cocoa powder. Mmmmm...... I'm thinking of an excuse to bake it again. Cake anyone?

Best Blogger Tips