Chocolate is the harlot of the culinary world. Many have worshipped at the altar of all things cacao. I worship at the very same altar most days. That luscious, viscous, cloying mass that is so integral to people’s lives. The french do it in the morning, enveloped in the wispy, chiffon like folds of buttery pastry that is Pain au chocolat. The Aztecs did it spicy and hot, typical of the Aztecs. And the rest of the world seem to do it, whenever they feel like it and generally that seems to be, often.
I was always a bit of a purist when it came to chocolate, I just liked a bar of chocolate, but then; I grew up. Now I have been enlightened to the world of warm chocolate puddings filled with pear puree, courtesy of my dear friend Miss M, bitter chocolate that is close to savoury and the power of chocolate in all things, including Chilli con carne.
There is a whole wide world of chocolate out there, just waiting to be discovered. My darling Sis was never much of a junk food girl but if you put a chocolate cake or (even better) a festive chocolate log in front of her, she will be jousting you with a fork to get to the first slice. As a child, chocolate cake always seemed to be too dry and really tasted more like bland cocoa powder than chocolate and so I left it well alone. But, as i mentioned earlier, I grew up.
One of the recipes which helped bring me out of my childish denial of chocolate cake was a recipe from my ex head chef. It was a scrawled recipe in the back of a battered handwritten cookbook. He knew exactly where the recipe was, he’d obviously referred to it many times. The reason for me first making the cake was a last-minute request from a customer for a birthday cake for dinner that evening, in less than 3 hours. Instantly, my chances of getting a break that day, disappeared into thin air. I was now going to make that cake. It looked simple enough, almost too simple. And it was. And it is. Really, really simple. So simple in fact that I felt confident enough to make it for my Sister and her 100 or so wedding guests.
Here’s the part where I tell you how good it is. Ironically there is no actual chocolate in the cake, its flavour comes entirely from cocoa but I use good cocoa, expensive cocoa. When I can, I use Valrhona, when I can’t, I use dutch process cocoa. If not, it doesn’t really matter. I’m the food snob, not you. So, anyway, back to the cake. It is rich and moist and decadent and just to reiterate, really, really simple. You don’t even have to cream your butter and sugar…
And finally, here it is, the recipe, courtesy of me, via ex head chef CC and I think he got the recipe when he was working in France.
In my handwritten recipe book this cake is listed as ‘Bloody good chocolate cake’ but I will always think of it as my sister’s wedding cake…
My Sisters wedding cake
375 g Butter (yes, I know that’s a lot)
750g Sugar (also a lot)
150g Self raising flour (I used gluten free self raising flour and it worked wonderfully)
- Melt the butter, then whisk in the cocoa until combined.
- Beat your eggs and sugar together but don’t try to create volume, it will only flop, you just want them well mixed.
- Whisk the cocoa/butter mix into the egg and sugar mix, just until combined.
- Gently fold in the flour
- Pour into a greased and lined cake tin and have another tin lined as back up because this is a big recipe. You’ll probably get one medium sized cake and a few cupcakes.
- Bake at 180 degrees, check after about half an hour, it won’t be cooked but it might need rotating, my oven has a hot spot.
- To check it is cooked, give it a wobble, if it is solid then you’re getting there. If it has a puddle in the middle then it will be a while. Poke a skewer into the middle, if it comes out clean or crumby, it is cooked, if it’s goopy, it needs longer. Don’t overcook it though, it is a wonderfully moist cake.
See, I told you it was easy. Sorry about the vague tin sizes and timing, I’m just a beginner at this recipe writing business. I promise to be more diligent in future. If you have any queries, send me a comment and I will try to help.
So, make the cake, eat the cake, then send me a comment and tell me how yummy it was!
By the way, this cake is not healthy, but it is bloody good.