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Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Chocolate Cake

Chocolate cake, i.e. pure pleasure served on a plate. There are many variations out there, but for me it has to be a soft, moist sponge covered in thick, luscious chocolate icing. Only use the best dark chocolate you can find for this; Divine or Green & Blacks never disappoint.

INGREDIENTS (the recipe is Nigella's - who else's?)

For the sponge:
  • 200 gr of plain flour
  • 200 gr caster sugar
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 40 gr of good quality cocoa
  • 175 gr of soft, unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs (free range or organic)
  • 2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 150 ml of sour cream
For the icing
  • 75 gr of unsalted butter
  • 175 gr of good quality dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
  • 300 gr of icing sugar
  • 1 tbs of golden syrup
  • 125 ml of sour cream
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
Make sure that all the ingredients are at room temperature - don't skip this important step. Preheat the oven at 180°C and line a loose-bottom cake tin with baking parchment. Put all the ingredients for the sponge in a bowl, and whisk them all together until you have a thick, creamy mixture.  Pour the batter in the baking tin and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted in the cake.
Let the cake cool completely before icing it. To make the icing, melt the chocolate and butter together at bain marie (i.e. in a bowl suspended over a pan of simmering water - make sure the bowl does not touch the water directly). Let them cool a little, then add the golden syrup, sour cream, vanilla and icing sugar (sieve the latter first to remove any lumps). If your icing is too thick, add a little boling water to loosen it; if on the contrary it is too runny, add more icing sugar to thicken it.
Transfer your sponge on to a serving plate, then cover it with icing - spread it carefully with a spatula to cover the cake evenly, then leave it to set for a couple of hours. You can add sugar flowers or other decorations to it, or leave it unadorned to glisten in all its dark beauty. Cut off a large slice and give it to someone you love (this could very well be yourself :-) ).

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