There’s nothing like a thick slice of chocolate cake with a cup of coffee or tea to cheer you up on a winter’s day. Rich and indulgent, it is the perfect thing to bake for birthdays for kids and adults alike at any time of year. Who doesn’t like a chocolate cake slathered with chocolate icing or decorated with brightly colored Smarties and blazing with candles?
A really foolproof chocolate cake recipe is an essential element in any home cook’s repertoire. This one rises beautifully and stays moist for a few days, if it lasts that long! You don’t even have to wait for a birthday to come along to make this. It can turn an ordinary weekend into a special occasion, so bake it even if you aren’t expecting guests and treat yourself to a sumptuous slice or two with your tea.
Recipe for Chocolate Cake
125g / 4oz soft butter or margarine
300g / 10oz white sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
125ml / ½ cup boiling water
40g / 1.5 oz cocoa
125ml / ½ cup milk
250g / 9oz plain flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Preheat the oven to 190C / 375F. Grease and line two 20cm / 8” cake tins.
The butter and eggs should be at room temperature so take them out of the fridge beforehand to give them a chance to warm. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. It is important to take the time over this, so that the sponge will be light and rise well. Add the beaten eggs one at a time, beating well, and then stir in the vanilla essence.
Dissolve the cocoa in the boiling water then add the milk to it.
Sieve together the dry ingredients to get rid of lumps and add air to the mix.
Add a couple of spoonfuls of flour to the cake mixture stirring in gently, followed by a couple of spoonfuls of cocoa mixture. Continue alternating, cocoa and flour, until it is all stirred in.
Divide the cake mixture between the two lined cake tins, smooth it evenly and bake for 35-40 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Cool in the tins for 5 minutes then turn onto racks to finish cooling.
Sandwich the cake together with chocolate butter icing or ganache. Top with ganache and then decorate with grated chocolate shavings for adults and Smarties and silver balls for kids. I often just use butter icing on top as well as in the middle, especially if the cake is for kids, when it will be smothered in brightly coloured sprinkles and hundreds and thousands.
Feel a chocolate craving coming on? If you can’t wait to bake your own chocolate cake go to Shaw’s Restaurant in Nottingham and try theirs.