Chocolate cake for serious chocolate lovers

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Chocolate cake speaks to me of home – birthdays, happy smiles on children’s faces, and the comfort of good conversation with a well loved, old friends. I suppose the first cake I ever made was a chocolate cake and my love affair with them has continued ever since. This cake is both fudgy and rich, but not too much. It has buttermilk in the cake to lighten it, which is a good thing considering the icing is fairly over the top. I like to use a Dutch process cocoa because it has a discernably richer flavour than normal cocoa and a glorious colour. A pinch of salt is also mandatory in all chocolate desserts to make them taste really delicious. This particular chocolate cake has become a firm favourite at our place, and I hope it becomes one for you too.

Serves 8 – 10

1/2 cup water
80g butter
3 tablespoons dutch process cocoa
1 cup self raising flour
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch sea salt

1 cup icing sugar
100g dark chocolate
250g cream cheese

Preheat oven to 165 C. Grease a 20 cm round cake tin and line the base with silicon paper. Combine the water, cocoa and butter in a small saucepan over low heat and heat until the butter melts and then stir until the mixture is smooth. Take off the heat and cool. In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar and salt. In a separate small bowl mix together the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla. When the chocolate mixture is lukewarm add it and the buttermilk mixture to the flour and sugar and mix well until smooth and glossy. Pour into the cake tin and cook in the oven for 35-40 minutes, until a thin skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Turn the cake out onto a cake rack to cool. When the cake is completely cold, cut it into three layers and then sandwich together and cover the top and sides with the icing. Make the top layer a little thicker so you can swirl it about about and get that eat me right now look.

Icing: To make the icing, melt the chocolate and then mix together with the cream cheese and icing sugar until it is smooth and glossy.

This cake will keep for several days and does not need to be refrigerated, unless the weather is really hot. Enjoy it for afternoon tea in the garden, or as an after dinner indulgence.

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