- it must taste of chocolate - not cocoa
- it must be moist
- it must not be too flat
- soft chocolate icing, not bitter and hard icing
- it must be easy and quick to make
- it must make people smile
So, after much experimentation I have found what, for me, is the ultimate chocolate cake and icing recipe combo.
My favourite cake recipe is by Nigella Lawson but I have altered the recipe slightly (due to personal taste and the need to make it as easy as possible using things you are more likely to actually have in your fridge).
Using 25cm tins x2. This will serve 8-10 people:
300g plain flour
300g caster sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
60g best-quality cocoa
260g soft unsalted butter
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons real vanilla extract
225ml sour cream
200ml natural yoghurt
25-50ml milk (start with 25ml and add the extra if the mixture looks too thick)
Here's the good part. I have tried the recipe the hard way (i.e. "cream together the butter and sugar, then...") and I have tried it the easy way (i.e. bung it all in together) and here's what I discovered
IT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE!
None at all.
So, carefully measure out the ingredients. Put all the ingredients into a blender or food mixer together, and blitz! Just make sure that you don't over mix it. Turn off the mixer as soon as everything looks well combined. The mixture should be quite loose.
Bake at 180°C for around 30 minutes (but keep checking).
Once your cake is perfectly cooked, leave them to cool in the tins for about 5 minutes and then turn out to cool completely. The cake should be very springy and light.
If you have time and would like to ice your cake too...
The best icing recipe I have found to go with this kind of cake does not come from Ms Lawson. I prefer Lorraine Pascale's chocolate frosting. It is simpler and more tasty in my opinion.
Beat 300g butter and 225g icing sugar together. Then mix in 150g melted and cooled dark chocolate. This should make gorgeous, soft, buttery icing that is easy to use.
Use about a third of this in the middle.
Then use a knife or palette knife to smooth the remaining icing all over the outside of the cake.
And there you have it. This is the fastest and tastiest chocolate cake that I can make!
I challenge you to find a faster one!
...and if you do, I'd love to steal the recipe :-)