Monday, 16 February 2009

my first chocolate cake

I forgot to tell you about the chocolate cake I made recently for new 'ickle baby Scarlett-lily. I am working with Rachel Allen at the moment (hence spending a lot of time in Cork) and you may have heard she had a gorgeous girl at the end of January. Congratulations to the family! I made this cake as a bit of fun and knowing that Rachel would appreciate a bit of chocolate as every girl does at any excuse.

I used a Nigella recipe (which I have adapted the wording (and title) of a little) and then decorated with icing myself... here it is:


175g unsalted butter, melted and cooled + extra for greasing
125ml corn oil
300ml chilled water
400g plain flour
250g golden caster sugar
100g light muscavado sugar
50g best quality cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs
142ml tub sour cream
1 tbsp vanilla extract

for the icing:
175g minium 70% dark chocolate
250g unsalted butter, softened
275g icing sugar, sifted
1 tbsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / Gas Mark 4. Butter and line the bottom of 2 x 20cm sandwich tins.

Using a freestanding or handheld electric mixer, beat together the melted butter and corn oil until just blended and then beat in the water.

Meanwhile, mix together the flour, sugars, cocoa, baking powder, bicardonate and salt in a large bowl. Whisk the eggs, sour cream and vanilla together in a seperate bowl until well blended.

Add the dry ingredients all at once to the oil and water mixture and mix on a slow speed to blend. Then add the egg mixture, and mix again until everything is blended and then pour into the prepared tins.

Bake the cakes for 50-55 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their tins on a wire rack for 15 minutes, and then turn the cakes out onto the rack to cool completely.

To make the icing, melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water and then leave to cool slightly.

In another bowl, beat the butter until it's soft and creamy and then add the sieved icing sugar and beat again until everything's light and fluffy. Then gently add the vanilla and chocolate and mix together until everything is glossy and smooth.

Sandwich the cake together with about a quarter of the icing and then ice the top and sides too, spreading and smoothing with a rubber spatula.

to ensure each half of cake is equal in size, sit the sandwich tins (one at a time) on an electric scales and pour in about 850g of mixtre into each.

my icing decoration:

pop about 50g (2oz) of ready to roll fondant icing into a processor and blitz to crumbs. Add a few drops of food colouring and blitz again to blend the colour in, adding more colouring again until you get to the colour you want. Tip the crumbs out onto a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar and bring them together to form a smooth ball.

Roll the icing fondant out with a rolling pin and then cut out letters, numbers or shapes with your chosen cutters. I have Nigella's set of cutters which has letters in and my favourite cutters, the feet came from here.

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