It’s been warm this week. Warm enough to say something like “I give up on baking until the end of December!” I’ve been busy. Busy means good by the way, although I’m already tired and it’s not the weekend yet.
It’s Wednesday and I keep insisting it’s Thursday. Take no notice of me, please! On the positive side though I can finally say that our guest bedroom is almost done, just in time for our friend’s arrival on Sunday. I am happy.
Before I continue I must thank everyone who sent me a kind note on Saturday. I really appreciate all the love. A friend of mine also added that I would never forget a certain baby princess’ birthday either. I didn’t follow the progression of events this time round but that morning I read that the duchess was in labour and I didn’t expect the birth to be so fast. To celebrate the date I made a simple orange and chocolate cake, which I will write about in the next few weeks, I hope. Today I feel that the star of the show has to be this gorgeous chocolate cake I found while browsing the net a few weeks ago.
Don’t worry – I won’t bore you once again with my addiction to chocolate. By now you know the drill. The day I made this was the result of the realization that I didn’t have anything sweet in the house. That doesn’t happen very often and it felt kind of strange, for lack of a better word. What I wanted was very particular: something chocolate-y but light, preferably soft and sponge-y. I doubted I would ever be able to achieve that. It’s always tougher than it seems. There are many chocolate recipes around. Unfortunately many are heavy and quite rich, something I did not want especially during these warmer months. Since moving back to Malta last year I surrendered myself to the fact that baking in the summer is a no-no. I wasn’t that keen to let baking go, but July, August and September are a “killer”, to quote a friend., and the oven becomes the enemy. However I think there’s still a bit more time for us home cooks to do a spot or two of baking until the I-dread-to-spend-time-in-the-kitchen time comes. And it will come, I promise.
This cake is a little gem, not only because it has all the qualities I mentioned before, but also because the end result is not one, but two cakes. Buy one, get one free…or two for the price of one? How about that? As with all cakes, the secret is not to overmix the batter. Stop as soon as the ingredients are just combined, while making sure there are no lumps. If you had a good look at the photo above, you might have noticed that I used one metal non-stick loaf tin and a glass loaf dish. Baking this chocolate cake turned out to be a simple physics experiment! The cake in the glass container took a bit more of its sweet time to bake. 10 full minutes. I couldn’t get my head round it until J reminded me that glass is an insulator and metal is a conductor. Physics 101, duh.
- 175g softened butter
- 175g soft light brown sugar
- 150ml boiling water
- 75g cocoa powder
- 200g cake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 4 eggs, lightly whisked
- 100g dark chocolate chunks
- 100g desiccated coconut
Preheat the oven to170ºC/Gas mark 3. Grease and line two loaf tins. In a large heavy-based pan place the softened butter, sugar, cocoa and water over medium-low heat. When the ingredients are melted through, stir in the dark chocolate chunks. Set aside for a few minutes to cool.
In a large mixing bowl, measure the flour and baking powder. Pour the melted chocolate mixture into the flour, add the eggs and mix until the ingredients are just combined. Add the desiccated coconut and fold gently into the cake batter.
Pour the mixture into the tins and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. The cakes will be done when a skewer or knife is inserted in the middle comes out clean. Leave the cakes to cool on a wire rack in their tins.
The cakes will be have a cracked effect on the surface, so don’t worry.
Enjoy and keep me posted.
(The recipe is adapted from Jo Wheatley’s website Jo’s Blue AGA. Jo gives loads of tips on various flavour ideas, so get creative.)