Birthdays are rather popular in our family, a cause for celebration. Parties for the little people are essential, and for the big people, a cake is a major dietary requirement. I always like the idea of a chocolate cake but sometimes, even laced in icing they can be a little disappointing. Maybe this is because we have been spoilt with chocolate brownies, flourless chocolate cakes and truffle cakes, all of which are intensely rich, gooey and indulgent, in contrast to the somewhat simple ‘sponge’ chocolate cake cousin. Maybe cakes are just a bit ‘passe’, does anyone really make whole cakes now a days? everyone seems to be into mini-me sizes and heavily iced cupcakes. The answer is I do, and though I am sure cupcakes serve their purpose, there was no way Mr.P was going to be fobbed off on a fairy cake for his birthday!
I am not a brilliant baker, I have had a bit of practice but there is plenty of room for improvement. To be honest, and probably thankfully, my sweet tooth did not really show its true colors until the pink one arrived. Cakes were not a massive part of my cooking repertoire at ‘Spiceland’, so annoyingly I do not have a ‘little black book’ of brilliant cake recipes at hand. No, sadly not, so last weekend I was left with a rather motley 1970s collection of cook books (that’s a beach house in Bembridge for you) to choose the all important birthday cake from. I failed and succumbed to trusty old google and Nigella! Strange how one defaults to this, what would we do without it I wonder? I cross-referenced a few other recipes, but for ease of making, correct ingredients in the fridge, etc, etc, etc, ‘The Domestic Goddess’ won hands down.
The cake was very easy to make. I think I overcooked it by a few minutes but if one was not running round the garden pretending to be a dinosaur, you could easily remedy this by simply paying attention! Icing – which frankly makes the cake, was a classic butter icing with a bar of melted dark chocolate added to it and some sour cream. So if you need a quick, foolproof chocolate cake recipe this one is certainly worth a go. It tasted particularly good when the little blue one sang, ‘Happy Birthday not to me’ which was a new one on Daddy!!
Nigella Lawson’s ‘Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake’ as featured in ‘Feast’
For the cake
- 200 Grams Plain flour
- 200 Grams Caster sugar
- 1 Teaspoon Baking powder
- 1 Teaspoon Bicarbonate of soda
- 40 Grams Cocoa powder
- 175 Grams Unsalted butter Soft
- 2 Large Eggs
- 2 Teaspoon Vanilla extract
- 150 Millilitres Sour cream
1. Firstly turn the oven on to 18o. Line and prepare 2 round 20cm sandwich cake tins. I use the foil wrapper from the butter and then shake flour around the tins.
2. Now the easy bit, put all the above, measured ingredients into a magi-mix and blitz till all incorporated. Pour/ spoon equally into the 2 tins and pop in the oven for about 25 minutes, it may need longer, depending on your oven. The cakes should have pulled away very slightly from the tin, and spring back when touched in the middle. If you insert a knife in the middle it should come out completely clean.
3. Turn out the cakes on to wire racks and cool before icing.
4. Icing – very important! I freestyle icing and on this occasion used butter, icing sugar, 100gms dark melted chocolate, sour cream. Lashings of icing in the middle to sandwich the cake and lashings on top. Candles, smarties, music, action…….’Happy Birthday to you’
Please wish Mr P Many Happy Returns – so pleased your holiday went well sounded glorious.
Re your sponge making tried and tested more times than I care to remember – weigh either two or three eggs, I recently had 3 egss which weighed 8.5 ozs depending on availability in their shells. Put everything namely butter vanilla sugar SR flour to the weight of the eggs, I always use normal beaters for the butter and sugar, add eggs, lightly beat in then flour and a dash of milk just to lighten the mix,beat lightly again, tip into greased possibly non stick 8″ baking tins, and 12 to 14 minutes at 180 C or 170 Cfan later , your nose is usually the best guide so try not to run too far away. The mixture should just spring back whenpressed lightly with the finger, when cooked. I sometimes grate a little Venezulan black chocolate for slight variation into the mix and make a very strong real coffe butter icing for a mocca cake. There are so many variations you can do with this basic method, but the more you use it the easier it becomes good luck – same mix makes ideal buns especially good with a few sultanas thrown in!! LOL Bridget
Love it as ever. Really enjoy reading your blogs! Amanda xx
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