If you’ve got a special occasion on the horizon or you simply want to occupy the kids with an indoor activity – get into the kitchen and have a go at this super easy but utterly delicious chocolate cake (we guarantee you won’t have tasted better and there’ll be big smiles and chocolately faces all around mamas!). With a moist and fluffy sponge and a to-die-for chocolate ganache (so SO good you should really make double the quantity to allow for a strawberry fondue….), the secret to this versatile cake is to have ingredients at room temperature. Dare to leave the butter and eggs overnight or at least 3 hours before you plan to make the batter. We were baking a special birthday cake which the birthday boy requested be covered in his favourite jelly sweets but you can decorate as you like – white chocolate shavings, berries, sweeties – or simply enjoy in its purest form. This is definitely one for the chocoholics among us!
300g plain flour
3 rounded teaspoons baking powder (not heaped!)
50g cocoa powder
¼ tsp salt
300g unsalted softened butter cut into cubes
300g caster sugar
6 eggs at room temperature
1. Preheat the oven to 170 deg. C fan oven.
2. Line each baking tin with baking parchment so that it is easy to remove the cakes after baking.
3. Take time to carefully weigh out all ingredients ensuring that quantities are correct.
4. Sieve the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt together into a mixing bowl.
5. Add in the butter, sugar and eggs.
6. Use an electric mixer to mix all ingredients together into yummy cake mixture. Mix on low speed for 1 minute to combine ingredients. Switch off the machine and use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides. Switch on the machine and mix on hight for a further 2 minutes until the mixture is creamy, fluffy and lighter in colour.
7. Use a dessert spoon to carefully place cake mixture into a lined cake tin. Use a rubber spatula to gently smoothen the cake mixture out to the edges of the tin.
8. Place the cake into the centre of the oven. Close the door carefully and set your oven timer for 20 minutes.
9. After 20 minutes check the cake and gently turn around in the oven if necessary to ensure even cooking.
10. Set your oven timer and bake cake for a further 5-10 minutes if necessary.
11. Test by sticking a metal skewer into the middle of the cake. If the skewer has no squidgy cake mixture attached to it, it is cooked. If there is some squidgy mixture attached bake for 5 more minutes and test again.
12. Remove the cake from the oven. Cool on a wire rack leaving the cake in its tin for about 10 minutes before removing and leaving to go completely cold before topping with chocolate ganache.
COOKS NOTES | ADD IN YOUR OWN IDEAS OR VARIATIONS TO REMEMBER FOR NEXT TIME:
1. For gluten free use 75g each of cornflour, ground rice and ground tapioca, instead of flour.
2. If you are a nut fan, substitute 150g ground almonds for the flour for a moister cake (take note it may break apart a little more easily if you are making numbers).
3. To make a strawberry cake, replace the cocoa with the same amount of strawberry nesquik or for vanilla use a spoon full of vanilla extract.
300g finely chopped lindt, valrhona or callebut 50% cocoa solids chocolate. For childrens ganache use Lindt milk chocolate which is less rich.
1. Warm the cream in a heavy based pan until just at a shimmering boil (not vigorous!)
2. Break the chocolate into small even sized pieces.
3. Remove the pan from the heat and tip in the broken chocolate in one swift movement.
4. Stir at first to combine chocolate and cream, then beat with a wire whisk until smooth and shiny.
5. Transfer ganache to a wide shallow container, allow to cool, then place in the fridge until it thickens.
6. Refrigerate any leftover ganache in a screw top jar (or eat it – as we did!).
7. Zap in the microwave for 15 seconds before mixing and using again.
ASSEMBLING THE CAKE:
1.Place a thin layer of ganache over the cake, this is the first layer only. The drizzly drips flowing down the sides look great so don’t worry about perfection. If the ganache seems too thick zap it for 15 seconds in the microwave.
2. Place the cake into the fridge to set.
3. After approximately 30 minutes, the first layer of ganache should be set on the cake.
4. Repeat the process with a second and thicker layer of ganache.
5. Decorate with anything you fancy!
Top image sourced via Shutterstock