I didn't mean for it to be so long - seven weeks is some lapse of time, even for me. I can't even come up with a credible excuse for it. No, the reason for the delay in posts is simply that life took over. This blog has to play second fiddle to all the other stuff - the business, the kids, school, running the house and everything else that makes up a busy life.
I have been busy on the blog in a behind-the-scenes kind of way though. I now have a wonderful new logo and banner, which will replace the one you are seeing now. Someone, who is very clever with blog design, is putting it all into place for me (tweaks will have to be made), but I ought to be unveiling my new look to you very soon and I, for one, am quite excited.
Until then, I have a recipe for you: Chocolate Cake. I've made numerous Chocolate Cakes over the years, each with varying degrees of success, but this one came up trumps. It really is the perfect recipe for a chocolaty celebration cake. It does have a hint of 'mocha' to it due to the inclusion of coffee in the sponge and the icing - swap the coffee for milk if you think you'd prefer it.
This particular cake came about when a friend asked me to bake one for her daughters birthday party. She required it to be undecorated so she could add the final touches herself to fit in with the theme of the birthday party. Had I been required to decorate it, I would have gone to town with fresh blousy flowers.
For the sponge:
- 180g dark chocolate
- 200g butter
- 1 tbsp instant coffee
- 85g self raising flour
- 85g plain flour
- ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 200g dark brown sugar
- 200g caster sugar
- 25g cocoa powder
- 3 large eggs at room temp
- 75ml buttermilk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the icing:
- 175g dark chocolate
- 75g butter
- 1 tbsp golden syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 125ml sour cream (or cream)
- 300g icing sugar
- 1 tsp of instant coffee granules dissolved in 1 - 2 tbsp of water
Preheat the oven to 160℃ / fan 140℃ and grease a 20cm round cake pan and line the base with baking paper.
Break the chocolate into pieces into a small pan and add the butter. Dissolve the coffee with 125ml of cold water and add to the butter and chocolate mixture and melt over a gentle heat. Once melted, set aside to cool.
In a large bowl sift the 2 flours and bicarb. Add the sugar and cocoa and stir until it’s all combined. In a separate bowl, or large jug, beat the eggs until light and fluffy. Add the buttermilk and beat again. Add the cooled chocolate and egg / buttermilk mixture to the dry flours and fold together.
Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for 1 hr 25 min – 1 ½ hours. Check by piercing the cake with a small sharp knife or skewer – it should come out clean. The top of the cake will be firm and may have a few cracks. This is fine as you'll cover it with icing. Allow the cake to completely cool in the tin and then carefully remove from the tin and peel off the paper. Cut in half horizontally ready to finish with the chocolate icing.
To make the chocolate icing, break the chocolate into pieces and place in a bowl with the butter, suspended over a pan of simmering water. When melted add the syrup and cream and stir to combine.
Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add the chocolate mixture. Beat with an electric beater until combined and smooth. Finally add the dissolved coffee and stir to incorporate. Use the icing to fill and cover your cake.
Photography: Buttercup Days
Recipe: Adapted from BBC Good Food Magazine