Spinning is here tomorrow, so I have been making cake today. I have just enough time to share the recipe before I return to the work that I ought to be doing instead of this particular displacement activity…
This chocolate cake is reasonably economical – it’s low on eggs (2) and doesn’t involve too much chocolate, although it tastes as though it does.
- 225g butter
- 375g muscavado sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 100g dark chocolate
- 200g plain flour
- 1 tsp bicarb
- 250ml boiling water
Grease and line a “2lb”Â loaf tin. A fixed bottom tin is best. (Silicone baking parchment is practically a necessity for this cake. Don’t say that I didn’t warn you…)
- Pre-heat the oven to 190Â°C
- Melt the chocolate, leave to cool a little
- Sieve the flour and the bicarb together
- Lightly beat the eggs with the vanilla
- Cream the sugar and butter together
- Beat in the eggs/vanilla gently – for this cake you don’t want to beat in a lot of air, we are aiming for a dense cake (now, there’s a relief!)
- Fold in the cooled, melted chocolate and blend it in well
- Add the flour and the water alternately, little by little – until you have a smooth batter
- Pour the batter into the tin and bake at 190Â°C for about half an hour. You may then turn down the heat to 170Â°C until the cake has finished baking – about 10 to 20 minutes more will do the job.
The cake should still be moist and slightly squidgy. If you do the skewer test, the cake should not be so cooked that the skewer comes out clean – you want/need to come to a sticky end.
- You can of course substitute any sugar if you wish but by using muscavado you add to the dark dense moistness of the cake. Light soft brown would be the best substitution.
- I’d recommend unsalted butter, but I don’t think it’s a crucial matter
- Use good quality vanilla essence and don’t be tempted to leave it out – vanilla does magical things to chocolate
- High cocoa solids are to be desired in your chocolate – at least 70% but 80% or more is better. I mostly use the 70% chocolate from Lidl – it’s very good value for money… but I’d use G&B, if I could afford it.
- This cake almost always sinks a little on cooling. That’s fine – you can fill the well with whipped cream…
- The cake will improve for a day or three’s keeping (wrapped tightly in foil), if you can manage to keep your hands off it that long.
- The cake is great just as it is, or served with some whipped cream. Also very good if you nuke a slice in a bowl for 15 seconds (on low/medium) then add a scoop of good quality vanilla ice cream (again, Lidl comes to the VFM rescue with a not at all bad real vanilla – you can see the seeds – ice cream that costs very little of your hard-earned)Â – instant pud!
- I use two smaller loaf tins as I don’t have a large one at the moment (The Great Divorce Debacle didn’t just take its toll of my knitting needles…) – which is good, as I get to eat one and keep one. I haven’t tried freezing the spare yet.
I haven’t tried any variations until today – and I shan’t be eating the cake until tomorrow, so I have little to offer on this subject. Why not try:
- added chopped dark chocolate stirred in at the end
- a proportion of freshly-made strong coffee in place of some of the water, for a mocha variant
- chopped stem ginger
- chopped candied orange peel
- or maybe a tablespoon or two of dark chunky marmalade?
- chopped nuts – walnuts or pecans might be good
- dust the top before serving with sieved cocoa powder
Please report back on your favourite variations, so that we can all try them!