Tuesday, April 20, 2010
The last time I baked a cake was more than 10 years ago, before going to uni. A moist chocolate cake from a high school classmate was a favorite other than my mother's pandan chiffon cake. While the urge to bake (it's therapeutic I tell you) is strong lately, I didn't want to clog up the pantry with funny stuff which will not be utilized for other cakes or will go bad after I leave town (back to work and reality in less than 2 weeks!!). When Nigella made her chocolate fudge cake on Nigella Bites recently, I ran through the ingredients and told myself, "Jackpot!"
No excuse is required to make a chocolate cake, what more one with fudge on it. This one is fuss free - no sifting required for the dry ingredients of the cake, no separation of eggs or whipping of whites into meringue and a really easy fudge recipe (although I did encounter a minor drama with it by letting the butter out too long).
The cake can be baked together in two tins in you have a large oven. My mum's counter top can only handle one, so it took about 2 hours for my cakes to complete. The icing came out runny because I left the butter out for too long (it should just soften slightly). To thicken it I (almost frantically) popped it into the fridge while cleaning up. When it's retrieved from the chilling the texture was just nice to be iced on the cake.
I chilled the cake to set the icing but then ate the cake a tad too soon after cutting it cold. Letting it soften for awhile to room temperature gave me some reassurance that it isn't chewy like brownies. After that I proceeded to clingwrap (chill the cake for a bit to set the fudge first else the wrap will mess it up) it before returning to the fridge to prevent it from drying out.
Cooking time can be adjusted according to the size of your cake pan. I couldn't find 8-inches pans so I used 2 9-inches springforms. The cakes cooked around 40 to 45 minutes. I also replaced muscovado sugar with regular brown sugar as I can't locate the former at most of the supermarkets here.
Nigella didn't overstate it when she wrote "This is the sort of cake you'd want to eat the whole of when you've been chucked." Even when everything is find and dandy I hear it calling my name all the way from the kitchen everyday. A scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side also adds to the indulgence, needless to say.
Chocolate Fudge Cake
Serves 10 (or 1 with a broken heart). Adapted from Nigella Lawson's Nigella Bites - Chapter Two: Comfort Food page 47
For the cake:
- 400 grams plain flour
- 250 grams castor sugar
- 100 grams brown sugar
- 50 grams best quality cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 eggs
- 142 milliliters/small tub sour cream
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 175 grams unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 125 milliliters corn oil
- 300 milliliters chilled water
Preheat oven to 180°C/gas mark 4.
Butter and line the bottom of two 20cm sandwich tins.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugars, cocoa, baking powder, bicarb and salt. In another bowl or wide-necked measuring jug whisk together the eggs, sour cream and vanilla until blended. Using a freestanding or handheld electric mixer, beat together the melted butter and corn oil until just blended (you'll need another large bowl for this if using the hand whisk), then beat in the water. Add the dry ingredients all at once and mix together on a slow speed. 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 (toothpick or satay sticks) 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.
For the fudge icing:
- 175 grams dark chocolate, minimum 70% cocoa solids
- 250 grams unsalted butter, softened
- 275 grams icing sugar, sifted
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Melt the chocolate in the microwave - 2-3 minutes on medium should do it - or in a bowl sitting over a pan of simmering water, and let 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 is light and fluffy. Gently add the vanilla and chocolate and mix together until everything is glossy and smooth.
Sandwich the middle of the cake with about a quarter of the icing, and then ice the top and sides too, spreading and smoothing with a rubber spatula.
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