Tag Archives: chocolate cake

Quick Chocolate Bundt Cake

Chocolate Bundt Cake (0412)Before I move on to another recipe, I would like to thank everyone who sent me messages after the post about Androuet and their beautiful book. I couldn’t have written that without the never-ending support of my lovely readers and friends so I want you to know how much I appreciate that. Thank you!

And now let’s move on to some food – it’s a cake, and it’s chocolate. I have noticed that for the past couple of years I consistently post a chocolate recipe. Not only am I constantly searching for that perfect chocolate cake, but also I know that the simpler and quicker that recipe is, the more inclined I am to making it. Plus at this time of year there’s enough running around and trying to catch up with preparations for Christmas lunch and/or dinner, which ever one is traditional for you.

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Squidgy Chocolate Cakes

Squidgy Chocolate and Coconut Cake (0055) 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.

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Yoghurt Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Cake with Yoghurt Frosting (9980)

It’s been a while since I posted a recipe for chocolate cake. Now I can tell you that I have another one for you coming soon, apart from this one of course. I don’t know about you but there are times when only chocolate will do and for me there’s no better way than a good homemade sweet. I have said before and will say it again that I am one of those few who still resists adding salt to chocolate. True: salt enhances the taste of everything. However I believe that if you use good quality strong dark chocolate you don’t need anything else. I also find it drying. And contrary to what many in the industry say, I don’t find chocolate without salt to be flat in taste. Also, I have found adding coffee to be totally unnecessary. These sound like fads to me. And if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.

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Triple Chocolate Cake

Triple Chocolate Cake (6571)I have to say that I am always looking for a good chocolate cake. The main reason is simple really: generally there aren’t many people who would object to chocolate and this makes chocolate cakes perfect for any celebration. Personally I think that any excuse is good to bake one of these, but surely would you *really* need an excuse, and my go-to person in a situation such as this, is of course Nigella.

As much as I love using my round baking tins (I recently bought another two), I prefer finding recipes for loaf cakes. Somehow I find loaf cakes easier to cut and make taking them around, say for a picnic or to a friend’s house for tea, easier. This recipe is one towards which I gravitate most and is definitely one of my favourites. It reminds me of a lemon drizzle cake…you will see why as you read on.

Triple Chocolate Cake (6575)Before you start, take whatever you need out of the fridge. You will get a better cake if everything is at room temperature.

  • 200g plain flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 275g golden caster sugar
  • 175g butter, soft and unsalted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon good quality vanilla extract
  • 80ml sour cream
  • 125ml boiling water
  • 175g dark chocolate, cut into small chunks

Syrup ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 125ml water
  • 100g golden caster sugar

Place a baking tray on the middle shelf of your oven and preheat to 170°C. Grease and line a loaf tin, making sure you have extra baking parchment at the sides. You could use a silicon tin but I prefer the conventional way. It takes a bit more work but the results will be better.

For the cake, place the flour, baking powder and the cocoa powder in a medium bowl and give them a good mix.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the softened butter and caster sugar together. Beat in the eggs one by one.

Now gently fold in the dry ingredients and add the sour cream and vanilla extract to the mixture. Slowly add the boiling water and mix everything until just combined. Add the chocolate chunks and distribute evenly in the cake batter.

As soon as you do this, scrape the batter into the prepared loaf tin and bake for around 50 minutes to an hour. (There will be a few cracks in the cake when it’s done. Check it by inserting a skewer in the middle. The cake shouldn’t be too dry.)

While the cake is baking away, prepare the syrup by putting the cocoa powder, water and sugar in a small saucepan. Swirl the pan around a few times and let the liquid boil for a few minutes, until it has reduced to a syrup-y consistency.

When the cake is done, let it stay in the tin on a wire rack and pierce it with a skewer (like you would do with a lemon drizzle cake). Slowly pour the syrup all over the cake. Don’t worry if the liquid runs on the sides.

Make sure the cake is completely cold before taking it out of the tin, with the help of the overhanging parchment paper. Remove the lining and place it on a serving dish.

Serve it alone or with strawberries and cream or crème fraîche. Enjoy!

Rob x

(Recipe adapted from Nigella Feast: Food that celebrates life, Chatto & Windus, 2004.)

Chocolate and Honey Cake.

Chocolate-Cake-(5260)

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post I didn’t bake much lately. Sometimes I lack inspiration and recipes. When I said that to J he gave me this I-can’t-believe-you’re-saying-this-and-what-about-all-those-recipe-books-you-have look! I can’t blame him. Recently a friend of mine, who wants to learn how to bake, asked me for a list of books (she said maybe a list of up to ten books will suffice for now) with a variety of easy recipes for her to try. Of course I sent her much more than that, even though I specified which ones I consider best. You see, recipe books come in various kinds, and they come and go, because some are just fads. And others are just repetitive – plain and simple. Some cooks who have published a gazillion books, copy and paste from their own books, so when you think about it, they could have just come up with a bumper book and leave it at that! Even my favourite people have done that. It’s inevitable and it happens not only in cooking.

I find that some ingredients don’t let you be creative. This could be because I’m no chef. I just love cooking and baking, and you could say that not being extra mega imaginative is ok for someone like me. I’ll tell you one thing: when you’re a food blogger this won’t do. The good thing with us is that we can blog about food in general, without necessarily giving recipes. My readers, who are extremely supportive, don’t seem to be bothered too much whenever I just rave or rant about something in particular, and I’m so thankful about that! They are really generous. But once in a while they do ask me for a pudding or two or some cake ideas.

So once again, what I am giving you here is a chocolate cake. I’m never tired of chocolate, or cake for that matter! It’s very moist and luscious, but not that rich which is what we need sometimes. It has honey in it so it’s not for everyone, but I love this cake especially after a light meal, where you think you’ll be good because you’ve just ate something healthy, but then just give in and say “oh well, I’ve been really good, but now I’ll be really bad!” I saw this in Nigella Feast, made the cake with a little tweaks but didn’t make the frosting as instructed, not because it wasn’t perfect, but I didn’t like the idea of a honey frosting. I love honey but too much makes my teeth squeak! So I made a simple icing out of chocolate, which you can find here. (You could also try her cola icing; believe me it doesn’t taste like cola at all so it will do for this cake too.) I did half the quantity though and it worked well. I am always stuck when I have extra, and making less means not having to bake something else. Here it is:

  • 100g dark chocolate, broken into chunks
  • 275g light brown sugar
  • 225g unsalted butter, softened
  • 125ml runny honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 200g plain flour (all purpose)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon good quality cocoa powder
  • 250ml boiling water
  1. Make sure that all your ingredients are at room temperature.
  2. Place the chocolate chunks into a small bowl and melt by putting this over simmering water. Make sure that the water does not touch the bowl. When the chocolate is completely melted set it aside to cool. (Please note that this water has nothing to do with the boiling water listed in the ingredients. It is extra.)
  3. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/Gas mark 4, and line and grease a springform cake tin (preferably a 23cm one).
  4. Place the sugar and softened butter into a large bowl and whisk the ingredients well until they become white in colour and creamy in texture. Add the honey.
  5. Tip in the first egg and a tablespoonful of flour and beat into the mixture, and do the same with the second egg. This will avoid any curdling in the batter. Fold in the melted chocolate, the remainder of the flour and two teaspoonfuls of baking powder. Sieve in the cocoa powder to remove any lumps. Then add the boiling water and beat the mixture once more. Your batter should be completely smooth.
  6. Tip in the batter into the prepared cake tin and check it after 40 minutes. If the cake is browning too quickly from the top, cover this with a piece of kitchen foil. Check it again after 20 minutes. When the cake is ready remove from the oven and leave it to cool on a rack, still in the tin. Remove the springform and when it’s cool enough for you to handle, place a clean hand on the top of the cake, turn it over, remove the base and place it on a cake stand. Frost it if you like and how you like.

Don’t let the many steps frighten you. It’s easy I promise you. This is what I will bake during my birthday week. I love this and so will you! For my birthday, which is today, I’m off to Guildford for a special treat at Raymond Blanc’s bakery and get myself some lovely macaroons! I’m off….

Rob x

Too much Salt.

J and I have just arrived back from a brief holiday in the Lake District. Those who know us know that we love the Lakes, especially in good weather. This year, weather-wise, it was not good. We cancelled two days of camping and chose to head up north on Wednesday instead to stay in the tiny village of Seatoller in Borrowdale. That was a great choice: the valley was lovely with beautiful views all around, but with low clouds, mist and the heaviest rain we could barely walk. I could be exaggerating just a little bit but it was too soggy for my taste. We did manage to enjoy some walks here and there, and we went to our favourite little towns of Keswick, Hawkshead and did all the tourist things, among which was a visit to Hill Top, a farm which once belonged to Beatrix Potter. But I seriously digress…

Though this actually brings me to something I wanted to write about for quite a long time now. I don’t want to be a nag because no one likes that, myself included. But this has been bothering me. On to another story then! (Sorry…) While we were in Hawkshead we decided to have some coffee and cake from a quaint local teashop. Quaint is only the word J used to describe it, since it was really girly, but later he told me he felt squeamish when he saw it. Their chocolate cake seemed so delicious in the display area so that’s what I ordered. Result: it was so-not-delicious! It was dry and had too much salt in it for my liking – so I ask this: what is it with people’s obsession with chocolate and salt? There is no doubt that we are eating too much salt. Now this comes from someone who loves salty things – I could eat a whole tin of anchovies if given the chance. I say it because I would be the first one to put my hand up because I’m guilty too, even though I’ve given up on the anchovy-tin-bit quite a few months ago. Sad I know, but true! Thankfully these days many food stuffs have labels that indicate how much salt or sodium (they are different) you can find in that product. They make life a teeny bit easier.

I am trying to reduce salt in my cooking. I didn’t take it away completely because I need it. We all do. I still wash the beans from a tin to remove all those salty preservatives. More so after watching a celebrity chef on tv throwing the beans plus + the horrible goo into his dish = yuck! But salt in sweet things…*mm…let me think*…is not a good idea with chocolate. I just don’t like it, and I prefer to use herbs and spices, and pepper of course to season savoury stuff. I am no chef I know that. I’m a simple home cook and people are partial to different kinds of food – I know that too. But the fact that we should go slowly with the salt mill is well-known. Nothing new here. I won’t go into any health issues – we’re getting that everywhere and a lot lately and frankly you know the drill. I just want less salt in my sweets. Where can I get a decent saltless bar of chocolate? I wonder if that’s a lot to ask.

Rob x

Note: For a good guide for salt take a look at http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/treatments/healthy_living/nutrition/healthy_salt.shtml

Chocolate Birthday Cake

Chocolate-Cake-I-(4498)

I couldn’t quite choose what to write about today. However, just now a friend of mine tweeted about chocolate cake and birthdays. Don’t you just love Twitter? I do. It’s nice to be a child: you go to some friends’ birthday parties, and sometimes you get to invite them to yours. And the grown-ups do all the work for you. Smashing. I always say that children have the best social lives. The highlight of a birthday party is of course the cake, even though one might argue that it’s actually the presents! So let’s say that they are equally important. And let’s also say that every excuse is a good excuse for chocolate cake. I tried this recipe quite a while ago; I definitely didn’t wait for my birthday to bake it.

Chocolate-Cake-I-(4496)

In my view, Nigella’s book Feast is one of the books to go for if you want something special for a party. As with many of her books, it’s like an encyclopaedia, and there’s a whole section on chocolate and chocolate cakes. The cakes here can also be quite rich, but is that really a bad thing? Let’s face it, you won’t make it or eat it that often, and what’s a birthday celebration without a smooth chocolate-melt-in-the-mouth cake?

You need sour cream for this. I had a tub of the stuff just sitting in the fridge doing nothing. Classic: you buy one ingredient for a particular recipe, then you almost always end up with extra which ultimately goes bad. What a waste. So I flipped frantically through the books till I came across Nigella’s Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cake. Don’t be fooled by the length of the method. It’s really easy to make. This is totally her recipe.

Some notes before you start: Firstly, this is a sandwich cake, so you need two sandwich tins (with or without a removable bases – mine aren’t). Secondly, I had a lot of leftover icing, a lot more than I really needed. Instead of scaling the amount down I chose to make some quick and easy cupcakes (which I will include very soon) and spooned whatever remained over them. In my experience you will have enough to top another cake if you like. Also Nigella suggests that all your ingredients should be at room temperature.

For the cake you will need:

  • 200g plain flour
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 175g soft unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 150ml sour cream

For the American-style icing (or frosting) you need:

  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 175g dark chocolate, broken into small cubes
  • 300g icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon golden syrup
  • 125ml sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat your oven to 180ºC/Gas Mark 4. Line and grease well two sandwich tins.
  2. In a large bowl mix the the flour, sugar, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and beat in the butter till you have a soft and creamy mixture. In another bowl whisk the cocoa, sour cream, vanilla extract and eggs together (you can do this by hand), and beat this with the other mixture in the large bowl.
  3. Divide the cake batter into your two tins and bake for about 50 minutes. Every oven is different so start checking your cakes after around 30 minutes with a skewer or knife. When completely baked, remove the cakes from the oven and put them on a rack to cool for about 10 minutes in their tins. When they are cool enough for you to handle turn them out completely and onto the rack again. Any cracks will be covered by the icing later.
  4. Now for the icing. Melt the chocolate together with the butter in a bowl over a pot of simmering water. (This way is better than melting in the microwave because it is much easier to control and there’s a lesser chance of burning.) When completely melted remove it from over the water and leave to cool. In the meantime, sieve the icing sugar into another bowl.
  5. Add the golden syrup into your melted chocolate mixture which has now cooled. Then add the sour cream, vanilla and the sieved icing sugar. Whisk the lot. Depending on how you want the icing consistency to be, you can now add around a tablespoon of boiling water (for a thinner icing) or some more icing sugar (for a thicker cream). Your icing should be easily spreadable onto the cake so you don’t want it too runny.
  6. Place a piece of baking paper to cover the base of a plate or cake stand (for any access icing that will surely drip) and start assembling your cake: first one cake, then a layer of icing in the middle, then the other cake on top and finally cover with some more icing.

You can either leave the icing as is, or top with some decorations, especially if it’s for a birthday party. Be as creative as you want. I topped mine with colourful decorative sprinkles. I have to remind myself to buy some white sugar daisies next time.

Enjoy!

Rob x