A good chocolate cake recipe is absolutely invaluable – it is the easiest flavour to turn to when making a cake to be enjoyed by a number of people with different tastes. You could say that chocolate is something that brings most people together.
My standard chocolate cake recipe is fantastic – easy to make, easy to store, and tastes better with age…but there’s just one problem. It’s such a tender and delicate cake that decorating it in any way other than a chocolate ganache glaze means that it falls apart. It certainly can’t be split and filled nor covered with a fondant.
As a friend had asked for a decorated chocolate cake for her birthday, this meant that the hunt was on. The hunt for a chocolate cake which was just as intense and delightful as my standard turn-to recipe, but that was a bit sturdier so it could handle a little knife work.
You know, there are A LOT of chocolate cake recipes out there. Not even looking at the internet, at last count I had a combined total of over 60 chocolate cake recipes from my cookbooks. Now, I don’t have quite enough cookbooks to fill a book store (actually only half a bookshelf full!), but this does give you an idea of the diversity when it comes to chocolate cakes.
Which to choose, which to choose?
I ended up making a short list of recipes on the basis of authors, reputations and ingredients. I knew I wanted something that tasted similar to my usual chocolate cake so steered clear of any recipes calling for something a bit different such as grated potato or zucchini. I’m not saying that these would be bad recipes, but I wanted to err on the side of caution for this search.
After I tried about 4 different recipes, I struck gold with this one. It has a wonderfully delicate crumb and is nice and moist, yet it’s sturdy and dense enough to be split into thin layers (I generally tend to go with 1cm thin layers, though this does need the cake to be refrigerated), filled with whatever you like and iced/decorated however your fancy takes you.
It does require more time and effort than my usual recipe of choice, but considering the flavour and versatility of this recipe, I’m calling this the perfect chocolate cake recipe.
Serve it as is or get fancy and fill it with white chocolate mousse and strawberries, it’s a fantastic addition to your baking repertoire!
Perfect Chocolate Mud Cake
(from The home guide to cake decorating by Jane Price)
220 g unsalted butter
220 g good quality dark chocolate
6 tsp instant coffee granules
160 mL water
125g self-raising flour
125g plain flour
50g cocoa powder
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
480 g caster sugar
4 large eggs
7 tsp vegetable oil
110 mL buttermilk
1 x 22cm round cake tin / 20cm square cake tin
1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C, then put the butter, chocolate, coffee and water in a pan and stir over low heat till melted. Remove from heat.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flours, cocoa, caster sugar and bicarb soda and make a well in the middle.
2. Whisk together the eggs, oil and buttermilk in a separate bowl till combined.
3. Pour the cooled chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and carefully whisk to combine.
4. Grease and line your cake tin with non-stick baking paper, making sure the collar for the sides extends 2cm above the cake tin. Slowly pour the chocolate mixture into the well in the flour mixture.
5. Mix well to combine, then carefully pour into the lined cake tin. Bake for 1 hour 45 minutes, or till a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave the cake in the tin till completely cooled.
This makes quite a tall cake perfect for being split into layers for decorating, but you can also bake this as a loaf or even cupcakes. Personally, I like to make mini cakes which make it easy to cover in a dark chocolate ganache, offset with a drizzle of white chocolate for colour and contrast
[tags]chocolate, cake, dessert[/tags]