Tag Archives: chocolate cakes

“Poor is the pupil who does not exceed his master,”… Leonardo

3 Mar

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The eagle-eyed among you will have noticed a lack of Cakealogue posts of late. It’s true, I’ve not done any baking since the end of December. And I’ve not done any thinking about baking either. The reason is simple – I realised,  towards the end of 2012 that I had gained a lot of weight. I was looking like a hippo  Action was required and that meant changing the way I ate. Sadly it also meant no baking – at least for a few months.

My family and regular cake testers have been supportive because they have seen the transformation. At least it’s the start of the transformation. I have some way to go yet.

But as I write this I am smugly aware that there’s 12kg less of me than there was on the 31st December 2012. Hopefully, by the middle of May another 12 kg will have gone. For good.

Baking, much as I love it, was doing me no favours. It’s not that I even eat what I bake! It’s the tasting and the testing along the way that did it.

The Cakefans have been reassured though, that I will bake over the Easter holidays when the university bunch are back in town. In fact this year’s Cake challenge has already been set and accepted, so watch this space. A friend has suggested I blog about losing weight – a sort of Slimalogue – and I might just do it. Unless anyone thinks it’s a horribly boring topic to read about…

Meanwhile, the pans and measures at Cakealogue Towers have been in action once again. My elder son wanted to bake a cake as a treat for his lovely girlfriend, and so, under my watchful eye, he mixed, baked, decorated and presented a superb   chocolate  cake. He used my Beat and Mix easy peasy chocolate cake recipe, substituting dark molasses sugar for regular caster sugar, which resulted in deep, dark, caramelly splodges. He sandwiched the two halves with Nutella and then topped it with butter cream into which he’d mixed cocoa powder and  another spoonful of Nutella.

The result looked stunning. And apparently it tasted gorgeous too. But I have to rely on reports because I didn’t get to try it!

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It’s snowing…only chocolate cake will do

5 Feb

Nowadays, chocolate cakes are usually made with melted chocolate. But back in the days when I started baking from my mom’s old recipe books, chocolate cakes were always made with cocoa. I really have no idea why this is – perhaps it was  just a more economical way of baking.

I’ve decided to get back to the old cocoa-based recipes and had a go at one today. A nice heart-warming choccie cake is perfect on a snowy day.  Actually it’s perfect on any sort of day but I needed an excuse. Or a reason.

I use cocoa in two ways – either by mixing it into a paste or by removing an equivalent amount of flour and replacing it with the powdered cocoa. The paste, I think, gives a richer-tasting result.

These quantities will make one large round cake (about a 23cm tin) or a rectangular tray bake – use a brownie tin – or divide the mixture between two 20cm round tins and sandwich together. Today, I simply made one large round cake.

INGREDIENTS

5 tablespoons cocoa (proper cocoa, NOT sweetened drinking chocolate!)
5 tablespoons boiling water
230 g butter
230 caster sugar
280 g self raising flour
2 teasppons baking powder
4 large eggs
4 tablespoons milk

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C and prepare the tin or tins with baking paper.
  2. Place the cocoa in a small bowl and add the boiling water. Mix to a smooth paste – it may take some time to incorporate all the lumpy bits but persevere. Leave the bowl on a window sill to cool down.
  3. Chuck all the other ingredients in a mixer and beat to a smooth batter. Don’t you just love a beat and mix cake? I do.
  4. If you don’t have a standard mixer or a food processor you can do it quite easily in a large bowl. Beat the butter first with a wooden spoon, then beat in the sugar, and finally everything else. Give it a good thrashing to get it smooth and light.
  5. Scrape the mixture into the prepared tin or tins and bake for 40 minutes (one cake) or 30 minutes if using two tins. Test for done-ness but remember, slightly undercooked is better than overcooked where a cake like this is concerned.
  6. Turn onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
chocolate cake
ICING
For one cake – 200 g icing sugar, 100 g butter, 2 tablespoons cocoa powder.
For two cakes, sandwiched together –  300 g  icing sugar, 150 g butter, 4 tablespoons cocoa powder.
2 tablespoons apricot jam
METHOD
  1. Weigh out the icing sugar, then remove 2 (or 4) tablespoons from it.
  2. Add 2 (4) tablespoons cocoa to the icing sugar.
  3. Place in blender with the softened butter and whizz until smooth.
  4. Warm the apricot jam in the microwave for 30 seconds, then brush over the surface of the cooled cake. This is helpful in two ways – it makes the cake nice and moist, and forms a crumb-free barrier between the cake and the icing. I remember an old auntie telling me about brushing cake surfaces with apricot jam and it works brilliantly! Nobody ever tucks in and says, “Ooh, this chocolate cake tastes of apricot jam!”  they just say, “Mmmmmsnarfelnomnom.”
  5. When the jam has cooled on the cake, slap on the icing and spread it around with a palette knife. I like to flick up little peaks with the tines of a fork, then sprinkle on chocolate sprinklies for added overkill.
This cake is best eaten on the day it’s baked. That’s a joke actually, because it’s always eaten on the day it’s baked. I’m sure it will keep in an airtight tin for a couple of days. 😉

Chocolate cake

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