Sorry I’ve been MIA for like, the last week. I had a ridiculous amount of work to do for uni: I had to write up company profiles for 12 lingerie brands and compare them and stuff. That doesn’t sound like too much, I know.
I ended up with 55 pages and 15000 words. I’m only a second year, I did so not sign up for this! Kidding, it was alright – I’d rather be looking at pictures of pretty, ludicrously expensive bras and suspender belts than writing up a report on critical path or something equally THRILLING. I also got to play on Photoshop and make pretty cover pages (the boyfriend was clearly loving our living room floor at this point).
ANYWAY, on to the real point of this post. I present you with my recipe for the Ultimate Chocolate Cake (capitalisation 100% necessary). It is my own recipe, honed to perfection, so if you change any of it I’m going to have to come round and beat you. It’s the perfect mix of rich, chocolatey, gooey, cakey-ness and you need to go and make it pretty much now. I don’t have any photos of the method because when I’m making it I’m far too excited for it to be done so I can stuff it in my face, so there is no time for artful photography. It’s also ridiculously simple so if you can’t follow these instructions without photographic help you should probably stick to boxes of cake mix, sorry.
I should also probably mention that you are unlikely to ever eat anything else with this much sugar in it. I won’t tell you how many calories are in one slice …
Ultimate Chocolate Cake
- 220g self-raising flour
- 350g caster sugar
- 90g cocoa
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 large free range eggs
- 200ml buttermilk
- 110g butter, melted
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 100ml medium strength coffee
- Preheat oven to 170c (I think I have a fan oven. If you don’t, best do it at about 190c). Grease and line two cake tins and set aside. The lining might seem like an unnecessary extra step but all you need to do is cut out two circles and stick them in the pan, and it’ll make your life so much easier when they come out the oven. I use these 8 inch pans – I have 4. I love them. I like 8 inch pans because I prefer a slightly taller cake with a smaller diameter.
- Okay, onto the baking. Stir together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Don’t be tempted to add more baking powder to make the cake rise more – it doesn’t need it with the self raising flour, it’s a big-ass cake anyway. And it could actually have the opposite effect and make it sink. It also might seem like there’s a lot of salt but it cuts through some of the sweetness and brings out the chocolate flavour.
- Add eggs, buttermilk, melted butter and vanilla and beat for a couple of minutes until smooth. If you don’t want to buy buttermilk just add a splash of lemon juice or white wine vinegar to regular milk and let it stand for a few minutes.
- Stir in the hot coffee slowly until smooth and completely incorporated. Don’t worry, it won’t make the cake taste of coffee, it just brings out the chocolate flavour and makes it all moist (mmm) and amazing.
- Pour batter evenly between the two pans and bake on the middle rack of oven for 30-35 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean.
- Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pans, then remove and allow to cool on a cooling rack. I like to flip them upside down to cool because they’ll have undoubtedly formed a dome shape whilst cooking and this flattens it out a bit (alternatively you can slice off the dome bit and eat it. Yum).
- When completely cool, ice (see below). Sandwich two layers together on a plate – or cake stand if you’re posher than me – with a healthy amount, then dollop the rest of the frosting on top of the cake. Smooth it all down the sides, and then level off on top. I also use a damp cloth to wipe the excess stuff from off the plate – I am extremely messy. I don’t bother trying to smooth it all out, I like it when it looks messy and swirly.
- Cut a slice and devour like your life depends on it.
- 400g icing sugar
- 150g softened butter (not gonna lie, I just use Stork)
- 75g cocoa
- Milk – add a splash at a time until you reach a nice thick, spreadable consistency.
Method 1 – by hand
- Sieve the icing sugar and cocoa together into a big bowl (it’s an important step, just do it you lazy bunch).
- Stir in the softened butter as much as you can. Don’t worry about it when your hand slips and you end up covered in a cloud of icing sugar. Happens to the best of us.
- Add milk until it’s a nice thick, smooth consistency. Beat for a few minutes.
Method 2 – mixer
- Sieve the icing sugar and cocoa together into the mixer. Add the softened butter and whack the mixer on on a low speed until they’re incorporated – it should be sandy.
- Add the milk bit by bit, mixing in between additions.
- When the consistency looks about right, whack it on full and leave it for about 5 minutes. This will get loads of air into the buttercream and it’ll be super light and fluffy. You’ll also need to use less because it will increase in volume. You can store the leftovers in the fridge (I don’t know how long for, but a long time).