Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Divine Chocolate Fudge Cake
So my last post was for the vanilla polka dot middle layer of a 3 tiered birthday extravaganza, today it's the chocolate fudge cake layer - it looked like this:
The original recipe came from Martha Stewart and you can find it here but I have modified it a bit (to make it more user-friendly with the ingredients) and altered the method slightly. Now, I didn't take photos of the various stages of making the cake because...well...there's only one stage really!  Please note that the original recipe makes 2 x 23cm (9") layers whereas I made one big cake in a 28cm (11") spring form tin. One of the most brilliant things about this cake is that it is SO moist and fudgy that the left-overs from the birthday party have lasted in a tin for about 10 days here.  I know...who wants to eat 10 day old cake - but trust me, it is still perfectly wonderful as it is and if you nuke a slice for a few seconds you have the most outrageous chocolate fudge pudding type dessert.  And why would there be any left-overs in the first place?  Well, because this cake will EASILY feed 20 people.  I didn't realise that when I made it, my bad, but I'm not overly disappointed either!!

For the cake:
1 3/4 cups good quality cocoa (not drinking chocolate)
3 3/4 cups self raising flour (or all purpose flour and add 2 tsps baking powder)
3 3/4 cups caster or superfine sugar
2 tsps kosher salt (or 1 tsp table salt)
4 large eggs
1 3/4 cups warm water (it should feel neither cold nor hot on your skin)
2 cups whole milk
2 tsps lemon juice or white vinegar
1 cup vegetable oil (sunflower or canola are probably best)
2 tsps good vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 160 C / 325 F. Grease and line a 28cm (11") spring form tin. I like to use baking strips with sponge cakes, if you do too, soak them in water and pin around the outside of the cake tin.
  2. Add the lemon juice or vinegar to the milk and leave it to stand - it will curdle and thicken slightly and behave like buttermilk in the recipe.
  3. Sift the cocoa, flour, sugar, and salt together into a large mixing bowl.  
  4. If you have a free standing mixer: place the eggs, water, soured milk, oil and vanilla in the bowl of the mixer and beat on low for a minute or so until everything is well combined.  If you're using a hand held mixer: place all the 'wet' ingredients in a large bowl and beat for a couple of minutes.
  5. With the mixer still running, add the combined dry ingredients in 3 batches making sure the mixture is well combined before adding the next batch.  (The original recipe just places everything in one bowl then beats on medium - I found that I had little lumps of flour that would NOT be mixed in however hard I tried, they floated on the surface of the finished mixture and I had to scoop them out to avoid an unpleasant crust on the finished cake). 
  6. Pour into your prepared tin and bake in the centre of the oven for 40 minutes. Carefully cover the top of the tin with a piece of foil and bake for a further 60 minutes or until the cake passes the clean skewer test. 
  7. Place the cooked cake on a cooking rack, remove the foil and leave to cool 30 minutes before removing the outer ring of the tin.  Leave to cool completely.
For the icing:
200g / 8oz or 2 sticks of unsalted butter - soft but not melting
400g / 14oz icing or confectioners sugar - sifted
100g / 4oz good quality cocoa
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tblspn espresso coffee (this can be replaced with milk if you prefer)
  1. Place all the ingredients in a bowl and beat slowly until everything is combined, then on medium for a couple of minutes until you have the consistency you require.
  2. Spread on the top and sides of the cooled cake.  If you prefer: you could slice the cake in half and place the icing in the middle and on the top of the cake only for a more traditional tea-time look.
When you cut the cake it is dense, moist and intensely chocolatey - apologies for the horrible lighting in the photo below, somehow I made the cake look purple!  Enjoy this with a crowd of people...or on your own, in the bath, with a good book!

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